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Deleuze and Politics$
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Ian Buchanan and Nicholas Thoburn

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780748632879

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748632879.001.0001

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What is a Militant?

What is a Militant?

(p.98) Chapter 5 What is a Militant?
Deleuze and Politics

Nicholas Thoburn

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter is a critique of the militant. In particular, it seeks to understand the ways militancy effectuates processes of political passion and a certain unworking or deterritorialisation of the self in relation to political organisations and the wider social environment within which militants would enact change. To this end, the chapter traces a diagram or abstract machine of militancy – a diagram comprised of Guattari's cartography of Leninism and the model of struggle set out by the Russian nihilist Sergei Nechaev. It then explores a particular concrete animation of these abstract militant functions in the Weatherman organisation in the United States at the turn of the 1970s. The chapter sketches the principle outlines of an a-militant diagram, or dispersive ecology; of political composition that draws together Marx's figure of the party; Jacques Camatte's critique of the political ‘racket’; and Deleuze and Guattari's approach to the problem of the group and its outside.

Keywords:   militancy, self, political organisations, Leninism, Sergei Nechaev, Weatherman organisation, Marx, Jacques Camatte, political racket

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