This has come to my attention through bits and pieces of written thoughts I've collected.
One concern I saw was the more effective one criticizes the state of things, the more daunting the criticized problem can seem.
In fact, Foucault himself, because he holds a radical anarchist position is caught in what I would call “the critics’ paradox”.
The more powerfully the critic paints the ills of the society and the fragility of the self and the struggle it undergoes to be a human; the more powerful our account is, the more hopeless the people feel who could do anything about it. On the other hand, if we don’t paint the account in such a powerful way then people tend to underestimate what they are up against, so you have got a critic’s dilemma. Foucault clearly has picked the path where he doesn’t care if you feel powerless or not; that’s your problem, you have got to do something about it, so he draws out all the mechanisms of control to the maximum so that you understand them.
And this sort of paralysis seems to be of great concern for those that want to agitate people to act on such problems.
Stated bluntly: no revolutionary movement can grow if its theorists essentially deny Bloch's "principle of hope," which it so needs for an inspired belief in the future; if they deny universal History that affirms sweeping common problems that have besieged humanity over the ages; if they deny the shared interests that give a movement the basis for a common struggle in achieving a rational dispensation of social affairs; if they deny a processual rationality and a growing idea of the Good based on more than personalistic (or "intersubjective" and "consensual") grounds; if they deny the powerful civilizatory dimensions of social development (ironically, dimensions that are in fact so useful to contemporary nihilists in criticizing humanity's failings); and if they deny historical Progress. Yet in present-day theoretics, a series of events replaces History, cultural relativism replaces Civilization, and a basic pessimism replaces a belief in the possibility of Progress. What is more sinister, mythopoesis replaces reason, and dystopia the prospect of a rational society. What is at stake in all these displacements is an intellectual and practical regression of appalling proportions--an especially alarming development today, when theoretical clarity is of the utmost necessity. What our times require is a social-analysis that calls for a revolutionary and ultimately popular movement, not a psycho-analysis that issues self-righteous disclaimers for "beautiful souls," ideologically dressed in cloaks of personal virtue.
Which gives me the impression that people need to be shown to abstract further than the problem itself in some cases. To see that in a problem is also the potential for something positive, not guaranteed, but possible under the right conditions that make it possible due to active effort to make it a reality. Though a grounded optimism is harder to achieve the more powerful the criticism where it seems so damning that it really is difficult to see any way around the problem (personally I sense this in regards to ideology and desires to somehow overcome propaganda). Though I maintain optimism in our ability to better understand it and hopefully find a means to be more conscious of ourselves in relation to it, not necessarily invulnerable but more aware to decide on how to act on what ever knowledge we come to.
I've also seen an interesting quote posted by TIG by James Connolly about the importance of the 'Fighting Spirit'.
As one of the earliest organisers of that body, I desire to emphasise also that as a means of creating in the working class the frame of mind necessary to the upbuilding of this new order within the old, we taught, and I have yet seen no reason to reconsider our attitude upon this matter, that the interests of one were the interests of all, and that no consideration of a contract with a section of the capitalist class absolved any section of us from the duty of taking instant action to protect other sections when said sections were in danger from the capitalist enemy. Our attitude always was that in the swiftness and unexpectedness of our action lay our chief hopes of temporary victory, and since permanent peace was an illusory hope until permanent victory was secured, temporary victories were all that need concern us. We realised that every victory gained by the working class would be followed by some capitalist development that in course of time would tend to nullify it, but that until that development was perfect the fruits of our victory would be ours to enjoy, and the resultant moral effect would be of incalculable value to the character and to the mental attitude of our class towards their rulers. It will thus be seen that in our view – and now that I am about to point the moral I may personally appropriate it and call it my point of view – the spirit, the character, the militant spirit, the fighting character of the organisation, was of the first importance. I believe that the development of the fighting spirit is of more importance than the creation of the theoretically perfect organisation; that, indeed, the most theoretically perfect organisation may, because of its very perfection and vastness, be of the greatest possible danger to the revolutionary movement if it tends, or is used, to repress and curb the fighting spirit of comradeship in the rank and file.
Which I personally take as an emphasis on the importance of struggling for meaning/purpose against the cold instrumental rationality that makes human non-human and reduces them to machines in a system (workers/consumer).
Something that Zizek (Disposable Life - Slavoj Zizek - YouTube) tries to turn on its head by discussing the value of useless things. That much that is useless within the logic of capitalism is where we find human values and meaning, the sentimentality that many try to acquire in spite of living under capitalism. That under capitalism and the sort of empiricism it utilizes where it renders the social meaning of things as mere subjectivities. Not as true as the concrete reality as it thinks of the empirical isolated from everything and thus ignores the concrete abstract meaning of things within their relations.
We certainly need to not lose sight of the approximate sense of reality in which we operate...
Bourgeois revolutions, like those of the eighteenth century, storm more swiftly from success to success, their dramatic effects outdo each other, men and things seem set in sparkling diamonds, ecstasy is the order of the day – but they are short-lived, soon they have reached their zenith, and a long Katzenjammer [cat’s winge] takes hold of society before it learns to assimilate the results of its storm-and-stress period soberly. On the other hand, proletarian revolutions, like those of the nineteenth century, constantly criticize themselves, constantly interrupt themselves in their own course, return to the apparently accomplished, in order to begin anew; they deride with cruel thoroughness the half-measures, weaknesses, and paltriness of their first attempts, seem to throw down their opponents only so the latter may draw new strength from the earth and rise before them again more gigantic than ever, recoil constantly from the indefinite colossalness of their own goals – until a situation is created which makes all turning back impossible, and the conditions themselves call out: Hic Rhodus, hic salta! [Here is the rose, here dance!] [NOTE]
That we have to be careful to not fall into error out of the ecstasy of revolutionary acts and their perceived potential. But that it may be just as important to nurture the parts that make us human, something more than the mere instrumental use of people as conceived of within capitalism, but more to the nature of human beings in their relations when they care about one another and for something. This seems to be something that the fascists emphasize much to the neglect of a comprehensive understanding of capitalism and thus leading people a stray when they seek to idealize and romanticize certain things for people to believe in. But then so does a communist when they speak of the proletariat/workers, their struggle and the ultimate end to which it is all done towards.
That it seems in ourselves our passion to understand contains elements not necessarily emphasized within the reasoning to understand things as they are but underpin our drive to act as such. At the core human beings are an emotional creature who would be incapable of making the simplest of decisions if not for their capacity for emotion.
Becoming a socialist is obviously a process that varies with each person, but judging from my own frequent but highly informal inquiries there are certain experiences and insights that have a disproportionate influence in triggering or speeding up this transformation. Among these experiences are the following: undergoing a particularly brutal example of capitalist exploitation (or seeing it happen to one's parents or other loved one); becoming involved in radical political activity, even of a minor sort, and being treated as a socialist by others (it is surprising how many comrades told me that they only knew they were socialists or were becoming socialists when people who disagreed with them said as much); living socialist relationships and finding them humanly more satisfying; having socialist friends and coming to take their assumptions for granted; knowing a socialist whose wisdom or kindness or courage one admires. Among the intellectual events that constitute major breakthroughs in the process of becoming a socialist there are the realizations that one has been consistently lied to; that the personal oppression from which one suffers is shared by others and is socially determined; that the path on which society is traveling leads to economic and social disaster; that the problems of capitalism are inter-related and cannot be solved individually; that classes exist and the class struggle is real; and that the socialist ideal represents a morally superior way of life. This last shows that even though ethics has no place in Marxism (see Lecture 4), people may come to Marxism by an ethical route.
That its good we emphasize a cool head in analyzing things as they are in order to best comprehend what can be done. But being people we certainly contain some concern for the suffering of others under capitalism which many readily see in need of correction.
At the risk of seeming ridiculous, let me say that the true revolutionary is guided by great feelings of love. It is impossible to think of a genuine revolutionary lacking this quality. Perhaps it is one of the great dramas of the leader that he or she must combine a passionate spirit with a cold intelligence and make painful decisions without flinching. Our vanguard revolutionaries must idealize this love of the people, of the most sacred causes, and make it one and indivisible. They cannot descend, with small doses of daily affection, to the level where ordinary people put their love into practice.