Freedom Not Yet

Liberation and the Next World Order

Freedom Not Yet

New Slant: Religion, Politics, Ontology

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Book Pages: 432 Illustrations: 8 tables, 11 figures Published: December 2009

Author: Kenneth Surin

Religious Studies, Sociology > Social Theory, Theory and Philosophy > Marxism

The neoliberal project in the West has created an increasingly polarized and impoverished world, to the point that the vast majority of its citizens require liberation from their present socioeconomic circumstances. The marxist theorist Kenneth Surin contends that innovation and change at the level of the political must occur in order to achieve this liberation, and for this endeavor marxist theory and philosophy are indispensable. In Freedom Not Yet, Surin analyzes the nature of our current global economic system, particularly with regard to the plight of less developed countries, and he discusses the possibilities of creating new political subjects necessary to establish and sustain a liberated world.

Surin begins by examining the current regime of accumulation—the global domination of financial markets over traditional industrial economies—which is used as an instrument for the subordination and dependency of poorer nations. He then moves to the constitution of subjectivity, or the way humans are produced as social beings, which he casts as the key arena in which struggles against dispossession occur. Surin critically engages with the major philosophical positions that have been posed as models of liberation, including Derrida’s notion of reciprocity between a subject and its other, a reinvigorated militancy in political reorientation based on the thinking of Badiou and Zizek, the nomad politics of Deleuze and Guattari, and the politics of the multitude suggested by Hardt and Negri. Finally, Surin specifies the material conditions needed for liberation from the economic, political, and social failures of our current system. Seeking to illuminate a route to a better life for the world’s poorer populations, Surin investigates the philosophical possibilities for a marxist or neo-marxist concept of liberation from capitalist exploitation and the regimes of power that support it.


“[O]ne of the most elucidating and important books on globalization in recent years. . . . Freedom Not Yet contributes to postcolonial thought in the most essential way, offering a truly global perspective of what global capitalism is doing, as well as a rigorous theorization of the attempts to move beyond its obvious rapaciousness.” — Jini Kim Watson, Interventions

Freedom Not Yet makes a very significant contribution indeed. It blends a compelling critique of political liberalism and neo-liberal economics with an original defence of Marxism’s project of liberation in terms of singularity. . . . Surin’s Marxist ontology of liberation fuses a sophisticated critique of capitalism with a robust philosophical alternative that in its present configuration remains a partial theology.” — Adrian Pabst, Modern Theology

“Surin's book is an interesting contribution to ongoing debates about what it means to be a Marxist in the 21st century, and it deserves to be engaged with by a wide audience.” — Dan Swain, Socialist Review

Freedom Not Yet is a stunning, mature, and major work. It provides a unique combination of strong empirical research and significant theoretical sophistication. Kenneth Surin is after a workable model for revolution within the broad frame of the Marxist tradition, and he provides significant engagements with approaches including identity, subjectivity (Derrida), event (Badiou), nomadology (Deleuze and Guattari), and transcendence (Radical Orthodoxy), cutting through each with a sure hand. This book will be at the center of discussions for a long time to come.” — Roland Boer, author of Political Myth: On the Use and Abuse of Biblical Themes


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Kenneth Surin is Professor and Chair of the Program in Literature at Duke University. He is the author of Christ, Ethics, and Tragedy; The Turnings of Darkness and Light: Essays in Philosophical and Systematic Theology; and Theology and the Problem of Evil.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments ix

Introduction 1

Part I

1. The Complementary Deaths of the Thinking Subject and of the Citizen Subject 21

2. Producing a Marxist Concept of Liberation 34

3. Postpolitical Politics and Global Capitalism 65

4. The Exacerbation of Uneven Development: Analysis of the Current Regime of Accumulation 94

5. The Possibility of a New State I: Delinking 125

Part II

6. Models of Liberalization I: The Politics of Identity 141

7. Models of Liberalization II: The Politics of Subjectivity 165

8. Models of Liberalization III: The Politics of the Event 197

9. Models of Liberalization IV: The Religious Transcendent 226

10. Models of Liberalization V: Nomad Politics 241

Part III

11. The Possibility of a New State II: Heterotopia 265

12. Prospects for the New Political Subject and Liberation 285

Conclusion 295

Notes 299

Bibliography 371

Index 407
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Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-4631-9 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-4617-3
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