Self-Emancipation as Self-Abolition

The self-emancipation of the oppressed i.e. the proletariat, the feminine, and the open-empty self, is synonymous with their self-abolition, since each comes to know that affirmation of their own being entails an affirmation of the oppressors with which they form a dialectical couple i.e. the bourgeoisie, the masculine, and the conceited self, respectively. The logic of domination that governs the relationship between the oppressor and the oppressed cannot be reversed by the oppressed against the oppressor, lest they reproduce the same conditions that had made it possible to oppress them in the first place.

Since the oppressive pole must maintain a difference between itself and the oppressed other in order to constitute, maintain and perpetuate its own identity, it ends up affirming this other in the last instance even as it systematically subtracts from it. And this is the fundamental contradictory dynamic that defines the mode of being of the bourgeoisie, the masculine, and the conceited self: it is at once attracted and averse to its constitutive other, denying it while depending on it. It cannot let go of its other even while it tries to liberate itself from it. This is why the only way to put an end to the whole dialectic and release the oppressed from the oppressor is by doing what the oppressor hypothetically wants but can’t actually want: elimination of the oppressed.

To be clear, we should not mistake self-emancipation-as-self-abolition via the elimination of the oppressed by the oppressed as a form of nihilistic defeatism that would absurdly encourage something like committing suicide to escape a difficult situation. Rather, it means that the oppressed, rather than building power on the shared basis of their being oppressed should instead grow power on the basis of eliminating the conditions that made them oppressed in the first place. This is a form of “deconstructive praxis”, in the sense that the principle aim is the elimination of obstructions to freedom rather than a “constructive praxis” that would aim to accumulate and assert power over others. Constructive praxis can still be useful and may follow from deconstructive praxis, but it is the negative movement of deconstructive praxis that is the primary active force of revolutionary change.

By finally emancipating itself through its self-abolition, the oppressed graciously affords the oppressor the fruit of his own emancipation. The oppressor may have been interested in liberating itself from the oppressed, but the oppressed is interested in including the oppressor as part of its own liberation. Only the negative movement of the oppressed is capable of realizing the final satisfaction of both of their motivating interests.

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