Excerpts from "Crowd Politics" by Andy Merrifield in Sept/Oct 2011 New Left Review. (Italics mine.)
Article is also available at Harpers
...what social change really needs: people risking life and limb, as with ... the black civil rights movement ... the physicality of bodies being present in space.
... the relative conformity of the world's urban populations today: ... cut off from the past yet somehow excluded from the future, deadened by hustling a living.
The politics of the encounter... can overcome the inertia of apparent mass and individual powerlessness...
... people start to recognize ... one another not always directly, but through a mode of relating to the world, through unstated forms of solidarity.
... "class" perhaps evokes a ... ruling elite, but the rest of us, those who do not rule, are an assorted and fragmented layering of people who are neither conscious of class nor motivated to act in its name.
(You are working class if you are driven by) the need "to sell your labor in order to live" - "to look at yourself in the mirror and think, 'Now what have I got that I can sell?'"
...any moment of encounter ... creates its own historical space ... an illicit rendezvous of human bonding (not bondage) and solidarity ... in which something disrupts and intervenes in the paralysis.
But what kind of human ... will you be, and what kind of new social networks hold the key for a 21st century politics of militant democracy? In what forms will the Joycean everybuddy begin to express itself, as it challenges the crisis-ridden neoliberal order?