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Ordinary DemocracySovereignty and Citizenship Beyond the Neoliberal Impasse$
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Ali Aslam

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190601812

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190601812.001.0001

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Debt and Sacrifice

Debt and Sacrifice

(p.128) 5 Debt and Sacrifice
Ordinary Democracy

Ali Aslam

Oxford University Press

The final chapter turns to the Strike Debt resistance movement to consider the possibility of democratizing the quasi-sovereign power of capital. Arguing against those who contend that the economy cannot be democratized and call for post-democratic responses to overturn capitalism, Strike Debt is an example of how citizens are cultivating the ability to imagine alternatives to capitalism through debt resistance. Strike Debt’s activities focus on rewiring the associations between debt, guilt, and morality identified by Nietzsche, replacing the shame and pleasure in punishing debtors and overconsumption with taking pleasure in forgiveness and the company of others. Strike Debt models a non-Marxist form of critique that should guide other Leftist movements, because it does not insist upon the necessity of revolutionary transformations. The chapter concludes by noting that Strike Debt’s practices of debt resistance could be strengthened if they were pursued within an institutional framework.

Keywords:   Strike Debt, debt resistance, capitalism, neoliberalism, quasi-sovereign, debt forgiveness, shame, pleasure, revolutionary transformation, non-Marxist critique

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