"Prisoner's Dilemma" vs. William S. Burroughs's "Controller's Dilemma": A Discursive Motif in the Repression of Working-Class Self-Organization

  • Manuel Yang University of Toledo


To declare that the refusal to proscribe the "problems of the origin of language" and the affirmation of "geneticism - or a certain generativism" are "not chance encounters" imply a certain historical determination, namely that such demystification of origin and conceptualization of "geneticism" were occurring in relation to - though not generated by or generating - the crisis of Keynesian world capitalism in the late 1960s when Noam Chomsky and Jacques Derrida were both writing. Such determination is premised on a historical search for origins - although Derrida and Chomsky's subject is linguistics, we may substitute it with the self-organization of the working class, whose multilateral struggles made possible that global crisis to begin with - necessitates us to advance a theory of generation ("a certain geneticism - or a certain generativism"), a succession of historical links and relationships that connect one form of revolutionary working-class self-organization to another. And, just as Derrida proposed the way in which Rousseau problematizes the origin of linguistics as Chomsky recounted it in Cartesian Linguistics, we can propose the way in which the revolutionary commons problematizes the origin of the workers' councils as, for instance, theorized by Sergio Bologna's "Class Composition and the Theory of the Party at the Origin of the Workers' Council Movement", a seminal article published in 1972.
How to Cite
Yang, Manuel. 2006. “"Prisoner’s Dilemma" Vs. William S. Burroughs’s "Controller’s Dilemma": A Discursive Motif in the Repression of Working-Class Self-Organization”. FORUM: University of Edinburgh Postgraduate Journal of Culture & The Arts, no. 03 (December). http://www.forumjournal.org/article/view/575.