I’ll repeat myself because I think this sounds good: #ows is a beginning. It has opened a space for critique by identifying a massive injustice. It is not in itself a platform, but an invitation for us to roll up our sleeves and get to work.

The work is not as unclear as it is made out to be. This is, for better or for worse, a vision council. It may sound impotent, it may sound cheesy, and it may sound impossible, but isn’t #ows a locus for imagining our future? In 2011-12, what do we conceive Utopia to be?

Fortunately, we don’t have to start from square one. Let’s do a little dialectical thought experiment.

Thesis: Capitalism

Anti-Thesis: Communism

Synthesis: Social-Capital

Recall that the dialect is not a 1+1=2, but a sublation. Social-Capital is not Capitalism + Communism, which is China’s oligarchy, nor is it the Wal-Mart Eden of goods so cheap that they are effectively socialized.

Instead, we are trying to add a new value to Capital’s symbolic matrix in the form of the concrete individual. This is sublimation at its purest. Capital is not combining with Communism it is assimilating it, and in so doing, both will be transformed beyond recognition.

From the point of view of the Capitalist Thesis, social-capital integrates the radical opposite of the commodity, the value of the human touch. Zine’s, good meals, and Obey coasters do not claim to change one’s life or bring happiness. However, they require worker-owed or worker-influenced business. When we find products on an everyday, non-boutique, shelf that are desirable precisely because they are fleeting and human, isn’t that a revolution in of itself? Wouldn’t a sustainable market present us with what we simply want to make rather than what we “need”?

From the point of view of the Communist Anti-Thesis, the class system will eventually come to include its “constitutively excluded,” the very top, untouchable, locus of power. The radical turn will not be an end of class, but the moment when class swallows the corporate person, a nebulous legal construction that is structurally beyond the confines of class, like the “The Party,” “The King,” and “The Federal Reserve.”

What then does the future hold? I would argue for something like a widespread kickstarter. The question will shift from, “what do They demand?” to “what do We want?” In other words, I am holding out the possibility for some kind of “democratic market.”

 

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