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Theory of Power

Marx, Foucault, Neo-Zapatismo

Carlos Antonio Aguirre Rojas

The subject of power (singular) and multiple social powers (plural) is unquestionably central to contemporary societies all over the globe. Growing stronger and expanding farther all the time, the world’s anti-systemic movements have been forced to address this issue—the nature of power and powers—as among their most pressing debates. In the process, these movements have also been forced to consider the best possible strategy for confronting them. Should they seize political power, even if they run the risk of simply reproducing it? Should they destroy it altogether? Is it enough to destroy political power while economic, ideological, military, and religious powers remain untouched? And what is the most effective anti-capitalist and anti-systemic way to confront, defeat, and overcome the many different powers found in all present-day societies on Earth? To answer such questions, among others, this book discusses the rich, complex contributions of Karl Marx, Michel Foucault, and neo-Zapatismo to a complicated and essential subject: the theory of power.
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Introduction: Power vs. (Counter)Power


… the general narcissism, the self-love of humankind, has thus far suffered three grave offenses at the hands of scientific research…

Sigmund Freud, “A Difficulty in the Path of Psychoanalysis,” 1917

Over a hundred years ago, in 1917, in his brief but incisive essay “A Difficulty in the Path of Psychoanalysis,” Sigmund Freud put forth a compelling theory that connected the work and writings of Nicolaus Copernicus, Charles Darwin, and Freud himself. This theory identified these three thinkers with the three major offenses or wounds they dealt to the narcissism of humankind, the self-love of the entire human species.1

In the sixteenth century, Copernicus proved that Earth was not fixed in space, nor was it the center of the universe; just like other planets, he found, it orbits the Sun. Copernicus thus confronted humanity with what Freud called “the cosmological offense.” This offense essentially shattered the age-old, deeply rooted belief that our little planet was the center of all cosmic existence, the axis of all gravitation. Thanks to Copernicus, humanity was forced to accept that Earth is just one of many planets in the solar system. What’s more, Earth’s very survival depends on the existence of the Sun and its energy.←1 | 2→

Later, in the nineteenth century, Darwin dealt a second major blow to human narcissism: the “biological offense.” He did so by proving that the human race was not the apex of divine creation, not the most “superior Being...

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