Summarizing The Desire for Mutual Recognition

Chapter 7: Politics as the Struggle Over Who ‘We’ Are: On the Necessity of Building a Parallel Universe

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Just as chapter 6 showed that what is called the economic system is not actually an objective entity and can be "dissolved" into rotating patternings of alienated reciprocities, this chapter reveals the same phenomenon in the area of politics. The chapter begins by contrasting the "false-we" captured in conditioned mental imagery of "citizens and the State" with the continual effort of the desire for mutual recognition itself to emerge into a real-we expressive of true mutuality of presence. The chapter emphasizes that in this struggle over who "We the People" actually are, desire must manifest itself in the formation of a parallel universe alongside the official conditioned political process that can inspire a rising, mutually present political culture capable of bringing about social change. Extensive examples are given, drawn from eighth-grade civics class transmitting a mere projected image of who "we" are and how "we" are constituted, to Rosa Parks's refusal to give up her seat on the bus and its role in catalyzing the emergence of a real-we in a movement.

Peter Gabel