Kevin joined the fine folx at Anarchy on Air/Horizontal Power Hour for a conversation about Guerrillas of Desire and everyday resistance.
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“All revolutions start as the basic refusal of an oppressed person to follow along with the rules of their own subservience. The autonomous Marxist tradition breaks from many understanding of economics and history to say that it is what it calls “Working Class Self-Activity” that brings about crisis.”
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One of the premiere writers and organizers in the Autonomist Marxist tradition, Kevin Van Meter unpacks the currents of “everyday resistance” that have driven working class self-activity for centuries. As the core of all organizing and resistance, everyday resistance has the kernels of revolutionary politics within it as it emerges from the dreams and desire that motivates people to stand up and take back from their oppressors.
This talk was given at Powell’s Books on Hawthorne in Portland, Oregon. Video done by Daniel Vincent and Shane Burley. Van Meter is introduced by Lara Messersmith-Glavin, board member of the Institute of Anarchist Studies, which co-published Guerrillas of Desire with AK Press.
Join the School of History, Philosophy and Religion at Oregon State University for a conversation with Kevin Van Meter, author of Guerrillas of Desire, about revolution, organizing, and everyday resistance.
Kevin Van Meter, author of Guerrillas of Desire: Notes on Everyday Resistance and Organizing to Make a Revolution Possible, addresses the vital political question “What is in Working Class?” in an excerpt from the book just published by the Hampton Institute: A Working-Class Think Tank.
“Drawing on Autonomist Marxism, both in its American and European guises, this excerpt from Guerrillas of Desire: Notes on Everyday Resistance and Organizing to Make a Revolution Possible (AK Press, 2017) offers a conception of the working class that seeks to augment vague definitions of class and reinvigorate class politics in contemporary US revolutionary movements. However, a substantive, broad, and grounded definition is insufficient in-itself. Rather, an expanded and enhanced conception of class will require a process of workers’ inquiry and radical organizing to result in a strengthening of working class power vis-à-vis capitalism and the state-apparatus, or what autonomists call class recomposition. For the working class, as Glaberman and Faber’s note, is already struggling and it is the role of the organizer, the revolutionary, the militant to encounter, record, amplify, and circulate these struggles.”
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Kevin Van Meter, author of Guerrillas of Desire, joins the hosts of Labour Wave out of the Oregon State University in Corvallis to talk about graduate student organizing, everyday resistance, social reproduction and class struggle.
“LabourWave is an exploration of culture, politics, rebellion, and alternatives to capitalism recorded in Corvallis, Oregon. On this episode of LabourWave, we speaker with writer/activist Kevin Van Meter, author of Guerrillas of Desire. We discuss how organizing should not presume working-class people are unorganized and apathetic (therefore making the job of the organizer to organize and activate the working-class), but how the history of life under capitalism reveals that resistance is constant and the working-class are actively pushing against their domination on an everyday basis.”
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The Institute for Anarchist Studies-based publication Perspectives on Anarchist Theory has published a review of Guerrillas of Desire by radical writer and translator Scott Campbell under the title “The Seeds of Anti-Capitalist Revolt Found in Everyday Resistance: A Review of Guerrillas of Desire.”
Campbell offers, “Van Meter assists in this advocacy by accessibly presenting an updated Autonomist Marxist perspective of the working class, expanding it, breathing life into, and imbuing it with its own power, separate from both capitalism and the official Left. As such, he allows readers who may toil in a variety of ways under capitalism to see themselves within the working class, conceptualize their activities as part of a broader resistance with a rich history, and inspire them to build on that legacy.”
“The question we need to answer as revolutionaries attuned to everyday resistance, mutual aid, and self-activity is this: how does everyday resistance express the desires of those who are exploited and oppressed, dominated and controlled by capitalism and the state?”
Read the full interview here.