Introduction to “Riot. Strike. Riot: The New Era of Uprisings” – Joshua Clover (2016)

History, History/Theory, Theory

This Introduction summarizes the book in full, offering a comprehensive theorization of changes in the repertoire of social contest in the early-industrializing west since the medieval period. It situates the core categories of “production struggle”” and “circulation struggle” in relation to capitalism’s leading orientations within any given period, arguing that the compulsions of accumulation help shape the repertoire of social struggle. It concludes that the deindustrializing present, with its growing “surplus population” excluded from production along racialized lines, offers proletarian struggle increasingly likely to take the form of riots, similar to and distinct from the era of the classical bread riot.