Re: [OPE-L] the state, self-defense, and power

From: John Holloway (johnholloway@PRODIGY.NET.MX)
Date: Sat May 28 2005 - 12:11:06 EDT


    I think the important point is to distinguish clearly between two
opposed concepts of power - the power to do something and the power to
command someone, whatever one likes to call them (potentia and potestas, for
example) - and to see that our power is radically different from the power
of capital. This is one of the central points that I try to develop in my



>>      In relation to your question, the significant word in the
>> title of the book (Change the World without taking Power) is
>> "taking". The power of the zapatistas or of the soviets is a power
>> that can be constructed, but not a power that can be taken. In other
>> words, it is a radically different type of power, what I call a power-to
>>  rather than a power-over.
> John:
> Well, I see your point ... sort of.  I'm sure you are not opposed in
> principle to the tactic of factory occupations -- also called factory
> _take_-overs -- or student occupations, also known as _take_-overs -- or
> squatters _taking_ possession of abandoned buildings or landless peasants
> _taking_ possession of (dare I say -- seizing?) land.  It's hard for me
> to see how 'power-to' isn't, or doesn't become, 'power- over'.  The
> squatters that I know would certainly say that they have 'power-over' --
> their own lives (at least to some degree).  If workers occupy factories
> they also, at least temporarily and to a limited degree,  have some
> 'power-over'  capitalists.  When workers resist  speed-up they build
> 'power-to' and 'power-over' -- just as the 'power- over'  workers is
> enhanced when capital succeeds in speed-up.  Etc.  Workers fight both
> _for_ themselves and _against_ capital: hence, I think that 'power-to' and
> 'power-over'  are inter-related and inter-connected.
> In solidarity, Jerry

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