January 31, 2011

Holloway on Fractures

Came across an excellent passage in John Holloway's new book Crack Capitalism that is highly relevant to this blog:

"Imagine a sheet o f ice covering a dark lake of possibility. We scream 'NO' so loud that the ice begins to crack. What is it that is uncovered? What is that dark liquid that (sometimes, not always) slowly or quickly bubbles up through the crack? We shall call it dignity. The crack in the ice moves, unpredictable, sometimes racing, sometimes slowing, sometimes widening, sometime narrowing, sometimes freezing over again and disappearing, sometimes reappearing. All around the lake there are people doing the same thing as we are, screaming 'NO' as loud as they can, creating cracks that move just as cracks in ice do, unpredictably, spreading, racing to join up with other cracks, some being frozen over again. The stronger the flow of dignity within them, the greater the force of the cracks."


  1. I think here Holloway's notions of the spread and alliance of cracks (as well as their "freezing over again") resonates with Deleuzian ideas of re/deterritorialization. Resistance to capitalism (on a direct, pragmatic or material level) in this way is describable as a phenomenon of desire because it is in this way that the individual can become overcoded by the system (the lake freezes over again, the water re-seals and the old regimes of desire return), whereas in the same way the individual generation of cracks on a micro-level resonates into larger unifications in what Guattari describes in his 1970 notes to Anti-Oedipus an "alliance machine."

    This is not just the nature of capitalist relations but is the nature of all of politics and ontology: everything is always-already chaos, a play between the system that desires to create homogeneity (capitalism a la the market, neoliberal tools of assimilation, etc...) and the anti-system that desires only to deconstruct and to reduce to levels of free interaction.

  2. The important thing to remember in all of this is that like the cycle you mention, Chris, we all must take a part in unraveling this machine of hatred that the oppressors wish to construct.

    Sometimes though, you must yell louder, or the ice will never crack.