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TitleMolarization and Singularization: Social Movements, Transformation and Hegemony by Nicholas ...
LanguageEnglish
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the processes of global hegemony, to refuse, rather than rearticulate those forces that are

tending towards the universalization of the liberal capitalist ecumene.”162 The anarchist

tradition of direct action figures prominently in Day’s account of the politics of the act,

and a number of scholars have pointed to the increasing interest in anarchism (both in

academic theory and activist practice) as a mode of practice that avoids the dichotomy of

liberal reformism and Marxist revolution.163 Furthermore, the molarizing function of

representation and demands has increasingly been criticized with an ensuing attempt to

make alternative social movement practices intelligible.164 These practices avoid

incorporation into hegemonic structures by refusing to engage in the politics of demand,

foregrounding disruption rather than reformism. Is this simply an endorsement of what I

have called ‘struggle against’? Is Day’s alternative simply a valorization of disruptive

action over negotiation? I will argue that the politics of the act should not be understood

in terms of a simple opposition between speaking and action, or as a simple opposition to

the State and capitalism. Instead, what needs to be appreciated in the politics of the act is

its molecular processes, which can actively ward off processes of molarization, rather

than simply opposing hegemonic molar structures.

In the politics of demand, social movements articulate themselves by producing a

demand that (it is hoped) will be heard and responded to by a molar entity (the State, the

public, and so on). A demand is presented, the State (hopefully) responds, and demands

recur. In this sense, the politics of demand reproduces a molarizing circuit, reproducing

162 Day, “From Hegemony to Affinity”, 730.
163 Graeber, “The New Anarchists,” 61-73; Robinson and Tormey, “Horizontals, Verticals, and the
Conflicting Logics of Transformative Politics,” 208-226.
164 Simon Tormey argues that the Zapatista uprising can be understood as a rejection of representational
politics. See Tormey, “'Not in my Name': Deleuze, Zapatismo and the Critique of Representation,” 138-
154. For an excellent activist-based critique of the molarizing functions of Statism and the politics of
demand with respect to social housing in Vancouver, see Anonymous, “Demand Nothing,” Moment of
Insurrection, http://momentofinsurrection.wordpress.com/demand-nothing/.

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