George Ciccariello-Maher is Associate Professor of Politics and Global Studies at Drexel University and the author of We Created Chávez: A People's History of the Venezuelan Revolution, also published by Duke University Press.
This chapter sets out from the contemporary tension between postcolonial and dialectical thinking—in Slavoj Žižek and Alain Badiou in particular—before turning to the Occupy Movement, and the ratio of the 99 percent, as an entry point for grappling with the dangerous lure of unity. Despite his own refusal of dialectics, Michel Foucault provides methodological tools that help to avoid the danger of premature dialectical reconciliation. Inversely, and from within the dialectical tradition, Fredric Jameson helps to loosen the bonds of dialectical oppositions and the singularity of the dialectic. It is at the intersection of the two currents—guarding simultaneously against dialectical closure and uncritical multiplicity—that a radicalized and decolonized dialectics can emerge. Finally, C. L. R. James provides—in The Black Jacobins—a powerful example for the sort of comparative political theorizing this book hopes to engage in.