"The dynamics of collective action is, of course, difficult to theorize but it is an essential aspect of most first-hand accounts and shapes the experience of protesters. When theorists try to capture this dynamic (rather than explain it away or ignore it), they often resort to relatively metaphorical language.Think of the empowering collective experience of overcoming fear and what Hannah Arendt called the joy of acting together and of beginning something new: of Jean-Paul Sartre’s marvelous analysis of the storming of the Bastille at what would later become the beginning of the French Revolution in terms of the “groupe en fusion”; or of Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri’s multitude in which plurality and creativity come together in the emergence of new political subjec- tivities – and what is it that these movements exemplify if not the ability of the multitude, usually denied by the state and its representatives, to organize and govern itself?

Without taking this first-person perspective, this phenomenology of protest into account, we – or future social scientists – will never be able to understand why and how people do what they do in an uprising. In contrast to what the liberal mainstream suggests, this is rarely a matter of isolated individuals standing up for their rights or their conscience against the state or the majority: more often, and paradigmatically, civil disobedience is the collective assertion of political agency, which confronts the vertical form of state authority and its institutional realizations with the horizontal and informal power of the association of citizens or the governed, thus creating new political subjectivities both at the individual and collective level that might well turn out to be the most trans- formative effect of such an uprising."

— Robin Celikates, "Learning from the Streets: Civil Disobedience in Theory and Practice," in: Peter Weibel (ed.), global

aCtIVISm: Art and Conflict in the 21st Century, The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 2015, pp. 65– 72.

We F#cked Up Bigly

info
×

When You're A Star They Let You Do It

info
×

When You're A Cop They Let You Do It

info
×

Urban Political Day Hike Ended With Trashcan Fire

info
×

A Small Spectacle

info
×
Using Format