Returning to Revolution: Deleuze, Guattari, and Zapatismo
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We are witnessing today the beginning of a return to and renewal of the theory and practice of political revolution. This return to revolution, however, takes none of the traditional forms: the capture of the state, the political representation of the party, the centrality of the proletariat, or the leadership of the vanguard. Rather, given the failure of such tactics over the last century, coupled with the socio-economic changes brought by neoliberalism in the 1980s, revolutionary strategy has developed in a more heterogenous and non-representational direction. The aim of this dissertation is to map an outline of this new direction by drawing on the theory and practice of two of its main inspirations: French political philosophers Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari and, what the New York Times has called “the first post-modern revolution,” the 1994 Zapatista Uprising in Chiapas, Mexico. The aim of this dissertation is thus threefold. First, I provide a philosophical clarification and outline of a revolutionary strategy that both describes and advances the process of constructing real alternatives to state-capitalism. Second, I focus on three influential and emblematic figures of revolutionary history, mutually disclosive of one another, as well as this larger revolutionary return: Deleuze, Guattari, and the Zapatistas. Third, and more specifically, I propose four novel theoretical practices that characterize this return to revolution: (1) a multi-centered diagnostic of political power; (2) a prefigurative theory of political transformation; (3) a participatory theory of the body politic; and (4) a theory of political belonging based on mutual global solidarity.