The fundamental idea behind ontological constructivism is – as the name suggests – that reality itself is constructed. That is, reality itself is historical and contingent – could always have been and could always be otherwise. This is a key lesson, I think, of emerging evolutionary theory and post-quantum physics, but also of contemporary social theory with an ontological focus. In the social sciences, this marks a transition, I believe, from the ontological theories of the past which took reality to be given and concrete, and the epistemologically focused theories that treated reality as fundamentally off-limits.
Take the issue race, for example. For many in the social sciences today, race is a (powerful) illusion or (merely) a social construct. This suggests that there is a more real existence behind our conceptions of race that simply needs to be articulated in order to do away with the problems our racial categories have created. This is an epistemological constructivism that extends only to our conceptions about reality and not to reality itself. I would argue, instead, that race is a reality that has been created over hundreds of years through a process of material-semiotic assemblage – pulling together both material and symbolic factors to create a force that has very real social, physical, and emotional consequences for all humans.
To say that race is a reality is not a judgement. It is not to say that our racial categories are good or bad (or inevitable). It is only to indicate a starting point from which we can begin to think about ways of changing reality. In this case, transforming the reality of race will take a combination of conceptual work (i.e. education, marketing, institutional changes, etc.) and material work (i.e. dismantling the material constraints imposed on people based on physical racial indicators). Whether or not some concept of race will continue to be part of the new reality is not clear.
Struggle forever! is a social theory and socio-political agenda based on the premise of ontological constructivism. It does not indicate a particular form of reality that ought to be brought into existence. By definition, the struggle continues no matter what form reality takes because reality will always change and new issues will always emerge. Instead, it provides a way of thinking about struggle in a world where nothing is given, and there is no center or hierarchy of being. In such a world, struggle must always be collaborative and collective because the creation of reality is a negotiation betwen all of the different beings who must share it. Struggle forever! is about process rather than product – not utopia as a place (utopia is literally “no place”) but utopia as a method for making the world better for everyone.