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The critical invariant: Avant-garde and change‘Change’ is the locus of the avant-garde’s revolutionary character. Historical claims and contemporary theorizations of the avant-garde enforce methodological distinctions between radical and conforming attitudes that fluctuate according to existing political agendas. This process of instrumentalization renders the avantgarde susceptible to the conformity of institutionalization. More importantly it prescribes the avant-garde with a subservient role that controls its operational means and deflates its capacity to produce politics. What is to be done, if the avant-garde achieves its goal for socio-political change? Are we to abandon the spirit of critical reflection and surrender to the conditions of the next system? How can there be an avant-garde after capitalism if its ends are solely confined in the substitution of one system with another? This article traces out this problem, assessing what kind of emancipatory potential we might expect, or hope for, from a post-capitalist avant-garde, by advancing a critical examination of recent theories of political subjectivity, the dialectics of change and the reconciliation of the institution.