A Molecular Method of Aggregation: The Church and Molecular Politics

            Speaking of radical movements and Christianity often produces the question, “How does a radical Christian movement work with a larger movement of radical politics?”  Can radical Christians participate in the same movements of rebellion as anarchists or communists?  Generally, this is a question of organization.  A radical Christian politics (as many contributors of this blog have put forth) is not simply a localized movement, but it is rethinking our world in a new light, it is imaging the immanent kingdom of God.  Surely, this is no small task, nor is it only a desire for Christians.  The idea of a new world, the rethinking of economic and political assemblages is the desire of many other individuals with diverse ideological interests.  How do radical Christians fit in to an exercise of subversive politics? 

            Various modes of struggle have been attempted throughout history against capitalism and other regimes of repression.  Leninism, anarchism, etc have all been dominant historical modes of struggle that have ultimately failed.  Currently, there is no centralized mode of struggle.  In America there is a fragmented political left.  What does this mean for those who are anchored by revolutionary politics?  Should there be a re-institution of a centralized politics.  No, a new organization must be sought after.

An ideology that is closed off to other intellectual circuits eventually dies from irrelevance.  One must imagine an organization of power that is decentralized and not dependent on any ideological orthodoxy.  This is where molecular politics begin.  Rather than attempting to unite under a common ideology there can be a space for a multifaceted approach.

“Desire, on a social terrain, refuses to allow itself to be confined to zones of consensus, in the arenas of ideological legitimation. Why ask a feminist movement to come to a doctrinal or programmatic accord with ecological movement groups or with a communitarian experiment by people of color or with a workers’ movement, etc.? Ideology shatters; it only unifies on the level of appearance.” (Negri and Guattari. New Lines of Alliance, New Spaces of Liberty. Pg. 80)

It seems simple enough to add in a radical Christian movement to the list.  Why ask a movement of radical Christians to come to ideological accord with any other group or vice versa?  Ideological orthodoxy is not required for a movement against capital. 

  Rather than any singular ideological banner, imagine a loose network of molecular political nodes, each releasing a subversive and revolutionary energy.  These molecular political nodes can link together and make a molar political assemblage. 

“…[W]hat is essential is that each movement shows itself to be capable of unleashing irreversible molecular revolutions and of linking itself to either limited or unlimited molar struggles (and only collective analysis and critique can decide which) on the political and syndical terrain of defending the general rights of the national and/or international community.” (Negri and Guattari. New Lines of Alliance, New Spaces of Liberty. Pg. 80)

The question for radical Christian politics is then the form and the means of struggle it will take against capital as well as the molar linkages it can make.  What would an “irreversible molecular revolution” look like for a molecular radical Christian movement?

            A previous post I contributed cited a possible moment of subversive action in the forgiveness of debts.  Perhaps debt is a starting point, but it is only a starting point.  A radical Christian politics is larger than just easing economic suffering; it is imaging a new world.  A radical Christian politics that imagines new forms of rebellion and upheaval in way of Christ, it is a turning of the world on its head economically and socially.  Only our collaborative imaginations can bring forth a new world.

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3 thoughts on “A Molecular Method of Aggregation: The Church and Molecular Politics

  1. Hi. Friend of Joel here. Thought provoking post. I’m curious what you mean by molecular. Does it mean really small? If so, how does it differ from particularity and locality, and how does it overcome the challenges these face? Or, are you getting at something about organicity, such that, while understanding the fringe/local as connected to a whole, even the the local/fringe/particular level exudes an abundance of life (for example) and “images” goodness for the whole? This would be interesting, because then you would want to think of radical politics not as disease to destroy the big bad organism but as an agent of healing that produces new life for the ailing, rotting and disease-ridden organism. How, then, might thinking of radical politics as healing assist the ways you imagine political struggle?

    • Sorry, for taking so long to reply here. I think to answer your questions, one has to consider both scope, organicity (is that a word? it should be), and healing. Marx says that communist struggle is a national struggle, “not in substance, but in form.” Molecular politics is a advancement on this idea. Molecular certainly does mean smaller, but it’s not simply a localized struggle. It’s a local struggle only in form. This is to say that the molecular struggle always strives to make linkages toward a molar movement, a large movement against capitalism.

      These connections molecular movements make are organic, or more importantly rhizomatic. Molecular movements of resistance negotiate strategic alliances and form collective bodies, but they do so toward a critical mass of bodies, not toward ideological unity.

      I think the comment you make on healing is very astute. Yeah, healing is what this sort of politics is after. Molecular politics could be apart of a larger schizoanalytic politics. As put forth by theorists like Deleuze, Guattari, and Franco Berardi, healing is one of the key concepts rather than destruction, however it’s not that healing is always opposed to violence or destruction.

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