BESIDE THE POINT, BEING

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People say that the left is irrelevant, beside the point. After all, communism failed, and the left is fractured, and multiple forms of conservatism, worldwide, are ascendant, right? Our impulse, as leftists, is to say, "we're not irrelevant, we're relevant!" And then we proceed to prove as much, and rightly so. But perhaps there's something to be said for being beside the point, at least some of the time. Sure, it's a risky proposition for those of us who want to change the world, but let's consider what politics might be possible from a position deemed wide of the mark.

If we're beside the point, we've already "failed" in a sense, so fear of failure no longer presents the same stumbling block (see FAILURE). But even more important, if we're not engaging with the hegemonic, we don't have to adapt ourselves to it. Operating under the radar, incomprehensible within the reigning logic of political pragmatism and rationality, we can ask new sorts of questions and imagine the unimaginable. Less concerned with outcomes, we can slow down, hesitate, improvise, try things out, fail, try again, consider different ways of organizing ourselves and our relationships to one another.

What might politics from a position deemed beside the point look like? Certain left circles, and others, see cultural politics as beside the point. Hip hop, beside the point?! Some see it that way, so perhaps it's a perfect example. Along with building parallel universes. Creating alternative economies. Reading together. Collective cooking. Urban farming. Holding parades of the politically depressed. Please send us images of your favorite tactic from a position beside the point.

Being beside the point might be a way of taking a DETOUR.

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