Logistics and Opposition

In this contribution Alberto Toscano, sociologist at Goldsmiths, discusses the assumptions of the Invisible Committee’s L’insurrection Qui Vient. In contrast to the Committee’s insurrectional metaphor of interrupting the “perpetuum mobile”¹, Toscano draws on works that highlight the “repurposing” of translocal lines of supply in order “to think of logistics not just as the site of interruption, but as the stake of enduring and articulated struggles.” Amongst others, he draws on the work of labour theorist and historian Sergio Bologna, one of the leading intellectuals of italian Operaismo. Bologna speaks of a “multitude of globalisation” which consists of the workers across the stretched supply chains and argues for understanding them as a translocal “working class” which becomes increasingly critical to systems of distribution. However, despite Bologna’s assumption of a translocal multitude, Toscano highlights the “neutralisation of class struggle” via new socio-material logistical practices of production and distribution. In doing so, he draws on Timothy Mitchell’s notable piece Carbon Democracy and above that on David Harvey’s thoughts regarding the “refunctioning“ of spaces of capital.

via Logistics and Opposition.

¹ “In order for something to rise up in the midst of the metropolis and open up other possibilities, the first act must be to interrupt its perpetuum mobile. […] That is what the American longshoremen understood when they struck in October, 2002 in support of three hundred jobs, blocking the main ports on the West Coast for ten days. The American economy is so dependent on goods coming from Asia that the cost of the blockade was over a billion dollars per day. With ten thousand people, the largest economic power in the world can be brought to its knees. According to certain ‘experts’, if the action had lasted another month, it would have produced ‘a recession in the United States and an economic nightmare in Southeast Asia.’” (The Invisible Committee 2009: 61-62)

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