I’m struggling a bit lately to balance the demands in my life in addition to current events around the world and the range of responses, and the recognition that this has effects on how (un)available I am to people who count on me. Furthermore, everything is intense and important so that there seem to be consequences, and conversations get heated quickly and start to feel like they can tend toward antagonistic contradiction (and I am by disposition ill-suited for and sensitive to all this, and I am tired tired tired lately so this disposition is heightened). What’s more, I’m sure I’m narcissistically magnifying my own importance, it’s all fragile – dynamic systems of complicated resonance with a variety of channels which can serve to amplify and echo mis-steps, such that I don’t want to do my faltering thinking out loud in the wrong place. And what’s even more, there’s much more I could be doing, if I were willing to be more of a soldier and more willing to shortchange some people in my life, and if I were more disciplined and serious, which makes me feel a bit like what right do I have to any of this anyway? And/but so much is happening, it sets wheels spinning in my head. As such I feel a strong need to think things through, an absence of room to do so, an absence of permission to think this through. It’s all very complicated, doubt and meta-doubt, uncertainty piled on uncertainty. I need a nap and a vacation. I also wonder if any of this is part of what it is to live through times like these, or not.

End self-involved preface. Begin Marx-involved body.

I keep thinking again and again about chapter 10 of Capital v1 and the description there of the working class’s struggles as engine for regulation. It seems obvious to me that stated content can be and often is overemphasized – hence the great many left groups that don’t matter – but it can also be underemphasized, in a way that doesn’t address issues of consciousness – this was part of my objection to autonomist marxism – though I think I’m currently more comfortable with ‘moral economy’ than with ‘consciousness.’ Probably just semantics on my part. Vision and values matter, so to speak, but they have to be practiced beyond being spoken.

To put it another way, there is a militant version of the long march through the institutions, in which the institutions are repeatedly forced to change: from victory to victory to victory to victory, bigger, better, more. I don’t think it really works that way. I think we need clearer criteria of evaluation analogous to the distinctions between technical and political class composition, class in itself and for itself, object and subject, terms of the sale of labor power and opposition to labor power’s commodification. E.P. Thompson again – relationship of demand for more economic satisfaction to opposition to the grotesque reduction of humanity to economy narrowly construed.

The current fight at present is a fight for regulation, a militant social democracy. That’s not the only perspective in the fight however, and this is dynamic and could change. I hope it will. I think that change could be hastened. I don’t have a clear sense of how, beyond truisms – more vision and values! – and practices I’m not able to be part of right now – door to door, etc. Mostly I want to understand better what is really happening, then begin to understand what are or what could have been points that could be/have been amplified or redirected in order to have what has happened and to have more. Above all, what are we for and how do we create space for discussions of what we’re for, that expand who ‘we’ are?

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