RETORT responds to its critics with a deep appreciation but also with a need to assert the broad purposes and character of Afflicted Powers as a polemical survey and provocation in which the authors challenge the Left to recover from its two decades of panic over the dangers of “totalization” and to begin to describe again the driving forces, the key determinants, of politics in the twenty-first century. RETORT proposes a political antiscience—a form of political writing that manages, at last, to wake us (the present writers included) from the sleep of reason. RETORT endeavors to recapture the basic Debordian insight that the power of images, to the extent that there is such a power, is a function of the powerlessness—the constantly manufactured and reinforced powerlessness—of those other forms of life, that other texture of social relations, that in the past has been capable of speaking back to the image and putting the Rumsfeld worldview in doubt.

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