At one level, Žižek, Badiou, Ranciére, Karatani, etc., are all preoccupied with overcoming the duality of communism and anarchism. Or, more precisely, in a situation in which occupying the state is not a guarantee of transforming it, these contemporary Marxist thinkers are concerned with recuperating dual-power strategies as a means to disrupt the one power composed by the alliance between capital and the state. Let me briefly point out the main positions of some of the Marxist philosophers on this issue. Alain Badiou argues that “Marxism, the workers’ movement, mass democracy, Leninism, the proletarian party, the socialist state—all these remarkable inventions of the twentieth century—are no longer of practical use.” He maintains that the third sequence of the communist hypothesis, the situation in which we find ourselves now, is not a question of a proletarian party, nor of a mass movement as bearer of this hypothesis. We find, according to Badiou, a new relationship between the ideology and a political movement. The generic processes are neither “resisting” the state nor trying to take it, but by taking a distance toward the state. It is a dual power that claims to be more universal and more powerful than the state itself—a sort of immanent duality that, though dual, remains more immanent to the situation than the transcendental unity of the capitalist state.
Kojin Karatani proposes to simultaneously create a dual-power movement, through alternative common currencies and markets, and take over the state/capital. In Karatani’s view, the triad of capital–nation–state is inseparable; as such, the three ought to be revolutionized together. His solution, as we will see later, is the transformation of the modes of exchange. Žižek, on the other hand, proposes that the party should be conceived as another power (which is not the state, hence dual power) but also that it should become the state (one power). For him, the dichotomy of either the struggle for state power or withdrawal from and/or resistance against state power is a false alternative. According to Žižek, this alternative presupposes the premise that the state in its actual form is perpetual. Žižek’s wager is that we need a Leninist gesture: the ultimate aim of the revolution is not only simply to take state power, but also to use revolutionary violence in radically transforming it. As he puts it, we should make the state work in a “non-statal way.”
Finally, Jameson suggests a very concrete proposition through which the state/capital apparatus would gradually become the “smaller” of the two powers, when compared with the military complex, which would grow progressively more central. Jameson’s idea is a militarized version of Žižek’s tetrad of people–movement–party–leader. Jameson departs from Lenin’s short text “The Dual Power,” written in April 1917, during the coexistence of the Provisional Government and the Soviets of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies. Lenin designates three main features of the Soviet councils: 1) power comes from below, that is, from the people in their areas (“direct seizure”); 2) in the soviets, the police and army are replaced by arming the workers and peasants directly; and 3) the bureaucracy is organized similarly to the armed forces—not by elected officials, but by direct rule of the people. In a sense, Lenin also provides a militarized version of the soviets.