The Assembly is dead. It rests on an ableist appeal to mobilization. It celebrates human representation when even the most basic ecological processes of regeneration are jeopardized by humanity’s mode of reproduction. Assemblies expose protesters to state violence, surveillance and fascist counter-attack. That is, if the assembly is not itself already populated by fascists, as many of the recent Corona-demonstrations were. Good assemblies might be elating, but their spirit often evaporates devoid of effects.
And yet. If, as Véronica Gago reminds us, assemblies also are kitchens of strikes, spaces for taking root and thinking together, then we cannot altogether dispense of them. Assemblies might be a dead end, but they all the same constitute a pure means (Walter Benjamin). What would it mean to actually assemble all the living? It cannot mean to include plants and animals in our tired convention. It must mean to align ourselves with myriad regenerative tides in a planetary canteen of care. Long live the assembly.
Eva von Redecker is a poltical philosopher working on theories of property, social change and (un)freedom. In 2020/21 she held a Marie-Skłodowska-Curie fellowship at PoliTeSse Centre (University of Verona). Her project investigated the connection between authoritarianism and possessive individualism, building on the notion of „phantom possession“ proposed in „Ownership‘s Shadow“ (Critical Times 3:1, 2020). Eva von Redecker‘s earlier PhD work on social change resulted in the monograph Praxis and Revolution(Columbia UP, 2021). Besides her academic work, she also writes public philosophy and literary essays; her general audience book on new forms of protest, Revolution für das Leben, was published in 2020 in German and is being translated into French, Korean, Spanish and Greek.