The constant incorporation of reality into the creation of political structures that are employed as an alternative to the status quo can be one of the most important actions in regards to real political change, more revolutionary than traditional types of revolution.
The main hope for a real political alternative lies in the ability to both understand how the current structures of power work, as well as the formation of tools for empowerment. The political is always embedded within both the social field and reality in itself, and makes use of reality in order make new configurations within the social field. These structures of power can be transcendent and lay beyond the ability of the populace to control it, taking on the appearance of being both natural and eternal. However, these structures of power can also be immanent and within the control of the people who are engaged within it to solve problems within social relationships. The factors that determine whether political structures are transcendent or immanent is whether or not prehension and prefiguration are employed to allow a true and direct democratic process. Democracy used to widen empowerment will use prehension and prefiguration to accomplish specific goals while also generally offering a real alternative to business as usual.
The value of free agency is dependent upon collective action. The expression of individual freedom is enhanced by this collective action and organization. Even though it can be argued through methodological individualism that only human individuals can act or choose in the political sphere, they are presented and given coherency through an aggregate of actions or choices. Instead of a methodological individualism, there is in fact an ontological individualism where only individuals objectively exist, but there is also an empirical collectivism where the collective allows for the subjective knowledge and realization of individuals. Freedom may be based on the individual, but the political is always collective since the political is one subset of possible social relationships. Individuals are never outside of the social field, and free agency is a recognition of this condition. Free agency is a specific kind of freedom within the context of structures. Regardless of the type or scope of the structure, free agency is an autonomy which can be described as the ability to have self-rule or self-law rather than rule or law from another external source. This autonomy requires that free agency is both resistance and creation. The resistance is from preexisting transcendent structures and the creation is of immanent structures to be used as tools for the expression of freedom. Free agency is the original choice within structures of power rather than the subsequent limited choices, a counter-narrative to ideology within structures of meaning, and a desiring-production that makes human desire manifest within structures of production. Collective action occurs in these immanent structures. It is the convergence of the individual and the collective that maintains a balance between freedom and equality. The complete collective action is not a demand for absolute conformity through coercion, but rather a consistent equal participation. Coercion and conformity arises during the divergence of the individual and the collective, where they are set against each other as polar opposites. In this case, equality is sacrificed to freedom and freedom is sacrificed to equality.
In the formation of what is commonly referred to as the social contract, one can see the transition from immanent political structures to transcendent political structures. Transcendence emerges when constituent power, as the power to create political structures, becomes constituted power or the power of authority within that political structure. Constituent power is the expression of power through free choice and action. Natural rights in this sense are the potential capacities to make choices and actions. There is a movement from individual natural rights to its collective expression when political structures are created, and this collective expression is an inherent resistance to coercion and conformity. On the other hand, constituted power is when the state is the organization of this collective expression. Ideology is the mediation between the collective expression and itself, presenting the political structure as something independent from its human creators. For example the ideology of capitalism perpetuates the divergence between work and ownership. Constituted power, that seeks its own structural reproduction, is the subsumption of the collective expression by coercion and conformity.
Even democracy is not spared the effects of constituted power, and that is the distinction between the democracy of the event and the democracy of the structure. The democracy of the event is an immanent totality of power, meaning, and production and is the convergence of freedom and equality. There is the ability to make an original choice with constituent power in the political sphere. Individual creation and collective use can occur in the cultural sphere. The democracy of the event within the economic sphere would result in worker ownership and capital distribution. However, the democracy of the structure is a transcendent category of power, meaning, and production and is the divergence of freedom and equality. Freedom without equality can lead to hierarchy and coercion, while equality without freedom can lead to conformity. The democracy of the structure only has precluded choices with constituted power only within the nation-state. There is a dissemination of an ideology that is both a conscious resistance and an unconscious acceptance. Within the structure of capitalism, the democracy of the structure increases production and decreases transgression. As the two are compared, it is clearly shown that justice is expressed fully through the democracy of the event.
The real potential of free agency lies with the execution of constituent power through the democracy of the event. When this occurs, one can see both prehension and prefiguration. Prehension is the movement from the open external parts of reality to the closed internal relationships of structures. Rather than looking at political, cultural, and economic structures as objects, they should be defined as processes. Each process incorporates parts from reality or other structures for a specific period of time. This incorporation articulates the distinction between preexisting reality and the various structures that emerge within it. The form of these structures can precede their emergence in a nonlocal way, and the content of these structures also precede the relationships they enter into. In other words, the structures that can be created by humans to solve particular problems must make use of the reality that is its background. Prefiguration is the creation of structures within other larger structures in order to enact change. These smaller structures anticipate an overall disruption of the larger structure by acting out an alternative method or procedure. Prefiguration makes use of immanent structures, and is the expression of the subjective unconscious into the objective reality. Immanent structures also conduct a retroactive disruption of existing transcendent structures, while moving from a general predetermined knowledge to a universal open truth.
Prehension and prefiguration are important elements of the political because they reconnect political actors with reality while pointing toward a new form for reality. In the past there has been the options of elections or revolution in order to create political change. But it must be stated that besides these two options, that have in many cases only perpetuated the old order, there has been the possibility of prefiguration. Prefiguration can be described as building the new world in the shell of the old, and prehension is the reconfiguration of this old world as the raw material for the new. Both of these elements require immanent structures that can fulfill constituent power while operating as the democracy of the event. It is a creative process that must always be circumscribed by a direct and decentralized control at all times. Free agency can be upheld in this way, and a real sense of political change can occur.