The Citizenist Impasse: Contribution to a Critique of Citizenism
"The Citizenist Impasse: Contribution to a Critique of Citizenism" is an essay, originally penned in French, that works toward criticizing the ideology of citizenism. Previously available only in French, Pygmalion Books in association with NOT BORED! is releasing the first English translation on November 30th, eighth anniversary of the Seattle WTO protests, in order to mark the work's critical perspective of that event insofar as it relates to citizenism.
In France as in the rest of the world, the movement of 1968 was the "last assault against class society." Its failure marks the historical liquidation of what had been the old dream of proletarian revolution, namely, the dream of the historical assumption of the proletariat as proletariat, that is to say, as the class of labor. Self-management and workers' councils were the extreme limit of this movement. We do not miss it.1
"The Citizenist Impasse: Contribution to a Critique of Citizenism" is an unsigned essay, apparently written in April 2001, that constitutes the central text on an anonymous website devoted to several criticisms of "citizenism."2 The website in question3 is somewhat mysterious: though it is hosted by an Italian company, all the texts on it were written in French; except for one text added in 2005, all of its contents are dated April or May 2001. The website bears the following message:
"We initiate a debate on the question of the critique of citizenism in the perspective of a collective intervention, the places and forms of which remain to be determined on the basis of what we can elaborate together.It is in the spirit of internationalist intervention and debate that the Americans involved in the production of NOT BORED! have translated "The Citizenist Impasse" into English, and the Canadians involved in the production of Pygmalion Books have made it available for free.
Like everyone else, we have found a growing importance, not all of which is media-related, in 'anti-globalization' agitation. If, as we think (and as the following texts attempt to analyze), this movement in its chaotic diversity takes part in real struggles and is not simply the ideological expression of their limits (i.e., citizenist themes), there are things for us to do in it and against what are apologies for capital. A confrontation with the multiple forms that can be a moment of the surpassing that we desire.
This debate is a preliminary. So as to not limit it to French particularities and, because the situation lends itself to this perspective, we think that this debate must have an international character, and we hope that it leads to encounters."
This translation is being published today, November 30th, 2007, to mark the eighth anniversary of the disruption of the meeting of the World Trade Organization in Seattle, which was the greatest success of the "anti-globalization" movement in North America. Though this movement almost completely disappeared in the wake of the "Global War on Terrorism," which was launched in response to the attacks of September 11th, 2001, and though many anti-globalization militants became active in the anti-war movement, we believe that a great many of the points raised in "The Citizenist Impasse" remain apposite today, at a time when many well-intentioned radicals are concerned with reforming or humanizing the State, rather than overthrowing it.
Released at this exact moment in order to stimulate greater chances of memory evocation, this essay may act as a reminder that there is little reason to get caught up in celebrating the nostalgia of Seattle '99 ? that we still have some ways to go.
1. "The Citizenist Impasse: Contribution to a Critique of Citizenism," NOT BORED!, September 2007
2. Note that "citizenism" is not the same thing as the right-wing ideology of the same name promoted by the American journalist Steve Sailer, although the two do share a certain attachment to nationalism.
contribute to this article
add comment to discussion
view discussion from this article