Revolution in Philosophy

What Is a Revolutionary Organization?
Dennis Yao and Philosophy Workshop with Malak Afouneh
September 21, 2021, 17:00

This talk explored the question, ‘what is a revolutionary organization’, starting from two basic premises. First, is that organizations can sense and respond to their environs. A capitalist firm senses and organizes production to chase surplus value. A State senses and organizes ways of neutralizing popular unrest. So, what does a revolutionary organization sense? The second premise is that organizations are compositional - they are made of smaller organizations. A capitalist firm is made of production processes, those processes are made of labour power and means of production, and underlying both are individuals who sell their labour (and whose lives are also composed of desires, needs, histories, etc.). At each level of composition, there is a different form of organization and a different environment. In what sense does a revolutionary organization intervene in this composition? Our provisional answer to these questions is that a revolutionary organization a) senses the contours of a different world already present in the existing order and b) develops its own composition such that the various fragments of this different world can function as a single ecosystem.

Dennis Yao is a software developer and philosopher who is interested in the intersection of political economy, political organizations and mathematics. He is part of a group studying these topics called the Subset of Theoretical Practice, and is also on the editorial committee of the journal Crisis and Critique. He is coauthor of the book Hegel, Lacan, Zizek.

Philosophy Workshop is a voluntary independent self-organized initiative in Palestine. PW organizes public workshops and interactive lectures on philosophical topics. The initiative focuses on introducing philosophical ways of thinking of contemporary issues. We aim to make philosophical knowledge accessible for the public.

Malak Afouneh is a faculty member in the Department of Philosophy and Cultural Studies at Birzeit University. Malak has her MA degree in Literature and Philosophy from the University of Sussex and she is the founder of Philosophy Workshop.

This seminar was part of ‘Revolution in Philosophy’, an online seminar series curated by Malak Afouneh as part of the Philosophy Workshop in September 2021.

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