Violence and Revolutionary Subjectivity, Marx to Žižek
Christopher J. Finlay
The purpose of this essay is to explore the relationship between revolution and violence in Marxism and in a series of texts drawing on Marxian theory. Part 1 outlines the basic normative frameworks which determine the outer limits of permissible violence in Marxism. Part 2 presents a critical analysis of a series of later discussions – by Sorel, Fanon, and Žižek – which transformed the terms in which violence was discussed by developing one particular aspect of Marxist thought. By teasing out the implications of revolutionary theory for the commission and permission of violence, it is possible to specify those points at which it tends towards excess. This in turn helps clarify the limits to revolutionary violence that an adequate normative theory should establish.
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