Q: Whither the Metropolis?

“”Relations between individuals are fixed in things, because exchange value is by nature material” (Marx, Grundrisse…) The abolition of value is a concrete transformation of the landcape in which we live, it is a new geography.  The abolition of social relations is a very material affair.”

– Theorie Communiste, Self-Organization is the First Act of the Revolution…


What is the metropolis; what are its modes of functioning; and how do social relations, realities and forms of subjectivity traverse and produce the metropole?

How can a conceptualization of the metropolis, the conditions in which space and time is produced by the series of apparatuses within the metropole, aid in creating a schematic in generating situations of rupture?


To think of how a revolution may unfold within the era of real subsumption — if we take this periodization as the minimal grounding point for our research — necessitates a close examination of how social relations are configured and reproduced.  For it is not necessarily production as such, but the reproduction of the current configuration of the social relation that produces society, as a reified image of society (the social relation as state instead of activity).  If the class relation between capital and proletariat produces and mediates time/history within a certain way, how does it produce space, specifically the space of the metropolis?  With the interconnectivity of the production process, and the various dislocations of productive centers, the fine dividing line between city and country has become ambiguous.

The configuration of the capitalist relation at present, as described by Theorie Communiste, is the dual disconnection within the reproduction of labor-power: on the one hand, and the disconnection of the valorisation of capital and the reproduction of labor-power, and on the other, the disjunction of wage income and consumption (sutured by credit).  In this portrait, the delinking of the valorization of capital and the reproduction of labor-power finds its expression in geographical zoning of distinct zones of reproduction, producing a segmentation of spatial-temporal configurations that are replicated everywhere.  For TC, there are three distinct zones:

1] hypercenters of capital, embodied in finance, technological research & development, etc.;

2] secondary zones, intermediate technologies, techniques of commercial distribution, ambiguous zones for informalism and assembly activities;

3] crisis zones, informal and black economies.

These distinct zones are tied together by the continuum of capital valorisation.  However, within these distinct techniques of capital valorisation, labor-power is reproduced in a disjointed and fragmented way, composing a differentiated set of relations between labor-power and the state apparatus.

From Los Angeles in 1992 to the banlieue riots in 2005 and the Oscar Grant riots of 2009, there is a specific way in which urban rebellions have taken shape, determined by a specific configuration of material conditions.  What are the structural hallmarks of such situations, and what do they tell us about the current configuration of social relations?  How do they contribute in the elaboration of the concept of the metropolis?  If our moment is a disintegration of sectors of reproduction, a “glass floor” preventing access to the realm of production proper, can then the product of this reproduction, i.e. society, disintegrate without the collapse of the economy?


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Mapping the Disconnections

“In restructured capitalism, the reproduction of labour power was subjected to a dual disconnection. On the one hand, disconnection between valorization of capital and reproduction of labour power and, on the other, disconnection between consumption and wage as income.”

“The first disconnection appears, first of all, as a geographical zoning of the capitalist mode of production — capitalist hypercenters grouping together the higher functions in the hierarchy of business organisation (finance, high technology, research centers, etc.); secondary zones with activities requiring intermediate technologies, encompassing logistics and commercial distribution, ill-defined zones with peripheral areas devoted to assembly activities, often outsourced; last, crisis zones and ‘social dustbins’ in which a whole informal economy involving legal or illegal products prospers.  Although the valorisation of capital is unified through this zoning, the same is not true for the reproduction of labour power.”

“The regions defined as ‘intermediate’ are the most interesting, because it is precisely there that contact is at its most intense.”

-TC, The Present Moment

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Concept of Cycle of Struggles

“The definition of the concept of cycle of struggles articulates around three great principles:

1) Exploitation – as a contradiction between proletariat and capital – is simultaneously defined as the reciprocal implication of these terms and the production of each one’s specificity as far as its situation and practice are concerned. It is not the exploitation in itself, or the development of the capitalist mode of production that carries its overcoming , they carry it only by the specific situation and activity of the proletariat as a revolutionary class and as a class of the mode of capitalist production.

2) The historical production of the revolution and of communism: both are the overcoming that each cycle of struggles specifically produces.

3) The contradiction between proletariat and capital is simultaneously the dynamics of the development of the modern mode of capitalist production and of its overcoming, the outcome of which is that a cycle of struggles defines itself in its whole as the relationship between, on one side, the daily course of the class struggle, and, on the other side, revolution and communism in their historical content.”

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Thinking Immanence

A tessellation, or tiling of the plane is a collection of plane figures that fills a plane with no overlaps and no gaps. One may also speak of tessellations of the parts of the plane or of other surfaces. Generalizations to higher dimensions are also possible.

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Intervention and the Communising Current

“There no longer is a distinct workers’ identity that faces capital and is confirmed by it. Now, the social existence of the proletariat faces, and keeps facing it as being capital itself. The contradiction between the proletariat and capital is then immediately contradiction with its own nature as a class of capital , the relation to capital that defines the proletariat as a class appears as a constraint exerted by capital.”

“The communising perspective exists as a means for the self-understanding of the movement that overcomes defensive struggles that are simply socialising. Now this perspective is simply a reinforcing of the activities that posit this overcoming by criticizing workers’ self-organisation and self-management of the economy. The communising perspective is an articulation between the theorising nature of struggles and “theory” production in a narrow sense. It is in this situation that a possibility for an epidemic expansion of the concept of communisation exists.”

Intervention & the Communising Current from Meeting

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Theses on Communisation


Communisation as a real movement must be created. While it does lay dormant as a possibility in general within our current historical juncture, it cannot be said to be simply implicit in any one struggle or movement,i.e. that it is something that will realize itself. It is a shadow movement that traverses all apparent movements/struggles, and must be made explicit by an active minority.


If communisation is setting an objects use free from the law of value, and experimenting with its relations, then we must know what it is that we are setting free.

Call states sharing, or ‘making common’ the basis for communisation. This form of sharing must be clarified and elaborated on.


Capitalism: system or assemblage?


Combined and uneven communisation, or in other words, dual power and the creation of alternative yet confrontational institutions against capital?


How can a material force be constituted, which is actively against capital yet comes from the social relation disseminated by capital itself?


What is the difference between a “we” of position, on the one hand, and a “we” of trajectory on the other?


Communization is what propels the revolution forward. It recomposes the elements within the revolution, reordering the state of the situation, so as to re-vitalize the revolution’s efficacy. Communisation revolutionizes revolution:
“The communisation is a revolution within the revolution.”

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Snapshots of the Occupation Movement

First Phase – late September to December 2009:

Initiative taken through tactic of occupation, field of possible action demarcated through this initiative; discourse of destroying university, elucidation of university structure as part of labor-power’s reproduction (necessary exclusion and sedimentation of those who do not have access to university, reproduction of managerial class, circulation of knowledge economy fostering division between manual and mental labor, etc.); intensity of direct actions throughout CA with resonances of solidarity worldwide, student Left temporarily disassembled (formally defeated), discourse extended beyond the university (“No Future,” “No jobs,” proletarianization of humanities/social sciences), ultra-left groupuscules dialectically intertwined with Leftist milieus, i.e. General Assemblies, mass actions, etc.

Second Phase – January 2010 to March 2010

March 4th as overarching context for field of action set up by Leftists putting forth discourse of “saving public education.” Separation and detachment of ultra-leftist groupuscules, failure of direct actions that were aligned with mass action, directionless (what are we doing? and what for?). Ultra-left’s actions overshadowed by March 4th, limited to what we “are” as students (preserving their position within society), discourse increasingly contained to a purely university struggle but connections are forged between students and workers within universities. Movement is made more extensive (nation-wide) yet less intensive and pointed in its attack.

Third Phase…


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