The Ends of Resistance: Making and Unmaking Democracy

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Since the rise of Donald Trump and other right-wing authoritarians worldwide, we have been told to “resist.” But this kind of opposition looks surprisingly like restoring the status quo. Under the banner of resistance, liberals and progressives have encouraged voting for Democrats, reading the mainstream media, trusting the science, putting up yard signs, buying the right products, and celebrating a “return to normal.” How was “resistance” diluted, and where can we find alternative forms of resistance for present and future struggles?

Alix Olson and Alex Zamalin offer a clear-eyed critical account of how neoliberalism has redefined resistance to thwart social movements and consolidate power. Elites have domesticated and coopted some once-radical concepts and practices into “restorative resistance” that bolsters support for an unjust social order while marginalizing, racializing, and criminalizing many others. Olson and Zamalin argue that true resistance to racial neoliberalism must instead be deeply antirestorative: collective, horizontal, counterhegemonic, radically democratic insurrectionary movements that cannot be redirected into shoring up the existing order. This “unruly world-building”―exemplified by Occupy Wall Street, the Movement for Black Lives, Indigenous activism at Standing Rock, and more―pushes us to live, think, and dream beyond profit maximization, democratic civility, and individual freedom. Powerfully and accessibly written with manifesto-like urgency,
The Ends of Resistance shows how marginalized voices and social movements deepen our thinking for confronting power.

Author(s): Alix Olson, Alex Zamalin
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Year: 2024

Language: English
Pages: 200

Table of Contents
1. The End of Resistance: Reformation Over Transformation
2. Neoliberal Resistance: Privatizing Rebellion
3. Democracy Domesticated: Resistance as Restoration
4. Making Suspicious Citizens: Racializing and Criminalizing Resistance
5. Unruly World Building: Toward a Critical Infrastructure of Demanding Hope