Fredric Jameson’s pathbreaking essay An American Utopia radically questions standard leftist notions of what constitutes an emancipated society. "If," Jameson asks, "business, the professions, religion, even the labor unions (let alone the post office or the Mafia) are inadequate vehicles for dual power, what can then be left in late capitalism as an already organized institution capable of assuming the parallel and ultimately revolutionary role on which alone radical social change depends?"
This is the moment to mention a final candidate, the only subsystem left which can function in so truly revolutionary a fashion. It is a thought that must have first come to me many years ago, inspired by an image by one of our greatest political cartoonists. I think it must have been during the first year of the Eisenhower presidency, if not still during the campaign, when the last vestiges of the New Deal still survived in Truman’s ill-fated campaign for socialized medicine on the English and the Canadian model. Ike, presumably in full military regalia, perches informally on the edge of the desk in the Oval Office and observes conversationally, “Well, if they want socialized medicine, they have only to join the Army as I did.” This is indeed very precisely the strategy I propose, the recipe for a new form of dual power.
Below, we present an excerpt from Jameson's revised and expanded version of the essay included in An American Utopia: Dual Power and the Universal Army, a collection edited by Slavoj Žižek that features responses to Jameson by Jodi Dean, Saroj Giri, Agon Hamza, Kojin Karatani, Kim Stanley Robinson, Frank Ruda, and Kathi Weeks. An American Utopia is currently 50% off. To redeem the discount, click on the link here.
Concluding our series on Giacomo Marramao's The Passage West: Philosophy After the Age of the Nation State we present the second part of Marramao's response to the collection of essays on his book on politics, philosophy, and declining state sovereignty that appeared in a recent issue of Política común. The first part of his response can be read here. Martin Jay's response to The Passage West can be read here.
In the second of a three-part series on Giacomo Marramao's The Passage West: Philosophy After the Age of the Nation State, Hayden White responds to Marramao's reconceptualization of the world system in our era of eroding state sovereignty. The first article in the series, originally published in Política común, can be read here.
It is a daunting task, certainly, to try to grasp the intrinsic character of the present: to identify its logic and structure beyond the hubbub of contemporary events and to conceptualise this logic and structure in an adequate and appropriate fashion.
(Marramao, 2012, 221)