What is a Militant?

Nicholas Thoburn

in Deleuze and Politics

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print May 2008 | ISBN: 9780748632879
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748652549 | DOI:
What is a Militant?

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This chapter is a critique of the militant. In particular, it seeks to understand the ways militancy effectuates processes of political passion and a certain unworking or deterritorialisation of the self in relation to political organisations and the wider social environment within which militants would enact change. To this end, the chapter traces a diagram or abstract machine of militancy – a diagram comprised of Guattari's cartography of Leninism and the model of struggle set out by the Russian nihilist Sergei Nechaev. It then explores a particular concrete animation of these abstract militant functions in the Weatherman organisation in the United States at the turn of the 1970s. The chapter sketches the principle outlines of an a-militant diagram, or dispersive ecology; of political composition that draws together Marx's figure of the party; Jacques Camatte's critique of the political ‘racket’; and Deleuze and Guattari's approach to the problem of the group and its outside.

Keywords: militancy; self; political organisations; Leninism; Sergei Nechaev; Weatherman organisation; Marx; Jacques Camatte; political racket

Chapter.  10187 words. 

Subjects: Social and Political Philosophy

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