We are stuck. The excitement of fall has resolved into dwindling numbers. How do we relate to this? Can we go ahead and organize the next day of action, the next in a series constructed around a model, “day of action?”

What do we desire? Of whom do we desire it? There’s that which we desire from the administration, but this is abstract. They are the tip of the iceberg of a larger power apparatus. We can only understand them through the archetype of “villain,” and other proposed understandings (“they are people too, and we can talk to them!”) get us further from rather than closer to the operative truth. We desire nothing of the tip, until the glacier itself begins to crack or melt. We should meet the next EVC with a poster depicting him or her as Darth Maul. Just another in a series, and ultimately a rather boring series the longer it went.

There’s that which we desire from our fellow students, from the people of Santa Cruz, from the people of California. And this is more vexing. What do we desire of them? We desire their participation. We want them to join us. We desire their desire.

And what do we do when we leave them cold, how do we react? Is there a certain jouissance in reading hateful comments on the Sentinel’s webpage? Or in Facebook debates with people who say, “I don’t care about you; I’m going to class anyway”? Or in mulling over how completely Mike Rotkin fails to get it? How do we get beyond this, if indeed we want to get beyond this? Do we want to try imagining ourselves as something besides jilted lovers, and is there something else?

Then, of course, there’s desire in the room, when we meet. Then, of course, there’s utopian desire. Of these we should say more another time.

Will a mere application of the kind of “elbow grease” which led up to March 4 be able to produce a strike of that magnitude and seriousness, under present conditions, in October? If Santa Cruz once again tries to function as vanguard? The conjuncture may change, and this may change what is possible. Next year’s budget cuts may be much more severe than people who are not activists now think. What seems to be a pervasive frustration with our perceived failure to “do something effective and play within the system” might once again resolve into frustration with that system, or its agents.

What do we still desire, now that we know we can’t have what we thought we desired, which was never in reach anyway? Communist revolution? Communization? Saving public education? A movement which is capable of breathing and growing? What would it mean to still want more than one of these things? Can we discuss this, as a series of investments, in order to think about something that we can never really know, that is, what it is that we are wanting together? Can we do this without immediately desiccating desires into demands? Oh, the lists. The lists that leave us cold, leave administration cold, leave the public cold; yet, there is an imperative to generate them. (And sometimes good reason to generate them; but they can be seen as the thing that ought to bring us together, when they only mean something to the extent that they flow from something else.)

Are our libidinal investments in tactics, or in goals? What would it mean to have an investment in one or the other? Is it possible to transfer our investments (consciously) and yet keep them vital?

Insurrection has failed to grasp that the difference between an occupation of 25 vs. an occupation of 2500 (or between a series of “occupations” popping up around the world vs. a generalized activity of claiming / reclaiming) is not a quantitative question. It is a chemical question. The notion of exemplary action misunderstands real, human-sensuous activity as such as manifest in thousands of divergences and particulars.

Organization, as manifested in the impulse towards conferences and assemblies, sometimes coming out of a “mechanical” interpretation of Lenin’s theory, fails to grasp the significance of what Hegel called spirit as central to what we call movement.  Breathing is not the same as applying a bellows to the lips and causing the lungs to inflate and deflate, nor would there be a strict science of how many pounds of force to apply to the handle of the bellows. The art of movement-building involves the vagaries of frank deliberation, which requires emotional vulnerability to the possibility of being wrong. It is not an a priori science or even a question of a fixed method of experimentation from which one can reach ironclad conclusions.

(It also involves “chemical” transformations of a most strange sort, in that sometimes, the boldness of an activity which fails a strict test of deliberation can excite the imaginations of the many and thereby be a tremendous success. In this sense, what was moving in the UC system in fall 2009 was a chemical phenomenon. The problem with understanding these kinds of  transactions as “chemical” is that their logic is closer to something we might, still, if we could believe in such a register, call “metaphysical” than what we would properly call “scientific” and physical: they are not reproducible.)

What shall we do? Is there a choice, outside of doing the same thing we’ve done before and expecting better rather than diminishing results? An occupation, a campaign, a day of action, a strike, a teach-in?

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