"The interests of the movement as a whole": response to David Harvey
Cox, Laurence (2010) "The interests of the movement as a whole": response to David Harvey. Interface: a journal for and about social movements, 2 (1). pp. 298-308.
Structural analysis has many merits. It enables us to agitate effectively, to make the links between the immediate problems people experience and the broader power relations which cause them. It can give us intellectual – and, these days, academic – credibility. It can even, when linked as in David Harvey's work to uncovering elite strategies, convince readers or students that the current situation is not written in the stars, and so by implication that it can be changed. Yet I find myself wishing more and more – as an Irish activist and as one involved willy-nilly in global politics – that somewhat fewer of our comrades had invested so much of their time and energy in structural analysis, and (in particular) that fewer of them had invested their professional or political identity in it to the point where they believe it is possible to read off the movement situation from a "bird's eye" view of reality.
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