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DismantlingsWords against Machines in the American Long Seventies$
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Matt Tierney

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781501746413

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501746413.001.0001

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Revolutionary Suicide

Revolutionary Suicide

(p.112) Chapter 5 Revolutionary Suicide

Matt Tierney

Cornell University Press

This chapter talks about revolutionary suicide is not an advocacy for death, but as the idea of a furious collective survival at all costs. Huey P. Newton's phrase describes revolutionary suicide as a form of political commitment that includes a willingness to endanger oneself. As forms of dismantling, the theories and practices of revolutionary suicide demonstrate how bodies may strike not only against their machines, but also against themselves, if the alternative is to be made into a machine. Revolutionary suicide is the cybercultural self-elimination of one body in response to instrumentalization by another. In a mode of revolutionary suicide, dismantling is a generative protest: not against technology but instead against the instrumentalization of human life through techniques of compulsory motherhood, black slavery, militarized science, and the binding constraints of humanist fiction. In characters' capacity to dismantle themselves, within and against the conventions of genre and story, revolutionary suicide is how texts rupture the stultifying categories of race and reproductive technology in defense of subjugable bodies.

Keywords:   revolutionary suicide, collective survival, political commitment, dismantling, machine, cybercultural self-elimination, reproductive technology, humanist fiction

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