HomePhilosophia: International Journal of Philosophyvol. 15 no. 1 (2014)

Beyond State and Revolution: The Politics of Contentious Multiplicity

Rizalino Noble Malabed

Discipline: Social Science



The theory practiced as resistance must come to grips with the state and with revolution. To evade, explain away, or assume the state is fatal. And to think of revolution only as anti-state is as dangerous. After all, the revolution’s aftermath is revealed by history to be just another state. I argue that the danger posed by both state and revolution can be countered by the multiple in society that becomes contentious—or a contentious multiplicity. The multiple and the contentious are practices that pervade society. The state’s objective is to control multiplicity and sublimate contentiousness. The revolutionary strategy is to sublimate multiplicity and direct contentiousness. But multiplicity is dangerous when it is independently contentious. And contentiousness indicates a dialectical process of challenging state power wherein the process itself is privileged over any synthesis. Contentious multiplicity is a practice of freedom.