Abstract

Abstract:

Revolutionary change emerges amid the dense swirl of different and even contradictory temporalities, and the dialectics of that change are themselves "grounded in temporality," to borrow Fanon's words. We are condemned to act in the present, but must also struggle to grasp the position that moment holds within broader dynamics that point toward a future horizon. As a result, who we are and how we intervene is always a matter of timing, as Lukács insisted of Lenin. The coalescence of oppositional identities and movements in struggle takes time even as it races against the clock, inevitably giving way to the dissipating half-life of revolutionary momentum, memories, and energies. This paper tracks the unfolding of these dialectics in conversation with contemporary movements in Latin America and beyond. From the explosive time of the riot to the consolidated holding pattern of occupation—which Badiou seeks to unify under the heading of the "historical riot"—I grapple with the temporality of stabilizing something so fleeting as a riot. Against Badiou's categorical imposition, however, in which the only proper riot is an occupation, I argue for a more flexible and nuanced approach to the overlapping temporalities of insurrectional explosiveness and the slow(er) consolidation of political identities and consciousness. Drawing on the similarly syncopated relation between the temporalities of repression (in particular, unconcluded disappearance as in Ayotzinapa) and the very different temporalities of armed self-defense in Mexico (the rapid emergence of the autodefensas vs the slow construction of community police), I seek to pull these differing temporalities together and negotiate their irreducible tensions. Finally, these open outward toward the distant horizons of the commune and decolonization which nevertheless appear as urgent tasks for the present: contemporary Venezuela in particular serves as a fraught reminder that the time of the commune—built on the slow and plodding trabajo de hormiga -- inevitably competes with and is outpaced by the pervasive time of corruption, the episodic time of elections, and the time of revolutionary desgaste itself.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-6539
Print ISSN
0300-7162
Pages
pp. 72-94
Launched on MUSE
2019-05-03
Open Access
No
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