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Ernesto Laclau “On Populist Reason”

Laclau, Ernesto 2005. On Populist Reason. London, New York: Verso

Concluding Remarks

Heterogeneity, however, does not mean pure plurality or multiplicity, as the latter is compatible with the full positivity of its aggregated elements. Heterogeneity, in the sense in which I conceive it, has as one of its defining features a dimension of deficient being or failed unicity. If heterogeneity is, on the one hand, ultimately irreducible to a deeper homogeneity, it is, on the other, not simply absent but present as that which is absent. (223)

Pluraalsus ka võimalik täiusena, täieliku korra tingimustes. Heterogeensuses aga alati puuduse dimensioon. Kas pluraalsus kuulub siis põhimõtteliselt homogeensuse juurde kui ühtse printsiibi alusel kirjeldatav paljusus? (Multikulturalism kui pluraalse ühtsuse utoopia).

A first theoretical decision is to conceive of the ’people’ as a political cateogry, not as a datum of the social structure. This designates not a given group, but an act of institution that creates a new agency out of a plurality of heterogeneous elements. (224)

It is in this contamination of the universality of the populus by the partiality of the plebs that the peculiarity of the ’people’ as a historical actor lies. (224)

A popular demand is one that embodies the absent fullness of the community through a potentially endless chain of equivalences. That is why populist reason – which amounts, as we have seen, to political reason tout court – breaks with two forms of rationality which herald the end of politics: a total revolutionary event that, bringing about the full reconciliation of society with itself, would make the political moment superfluous, or a mere gradualist practice that reduces politics to administration. (225)

Rahvas kui puuduva täiuse kehastaja. Partikulaarsus, mis hõivab universaalse tähistatava koha. Rahvas kui Ühiskond. Siin peaks aga oluline olema ka rahva kui universaalse tähistaja seisukohalt täiuse puudumise tunnistamine, vastasel juhul muutuks rahva huvi just revolutsiooniliseks sündmuseks, mis kustutab poliitilise momendi.

Since society as fullness has no proper meaning beyond the ontic contents that embody it, those contents are, for the subjects attached to them, all there is. They are thus not an empirically achievable second best vis-à-vis an unattainable ultimate fullness for which we wait in vain. This, as we have seen, is the logic of hegemony. (226)

Puudub ligipääs ontoloogiale, olemisele kui sellisele. Samamoodi nagu Agambeni puhul puudub ligipääs paljale elule kui sellisele. Ühiskondlikud olemisviisid ja suhted (ontilisus) on ainus, millele ligipääs. Heidegger: olemise kohta ei suuda me midagi öelda, ainult spetsiifiliste olemiste kohta.

If, however, the unity of the social agent is the result of a plurality of social demands coming together through equivalential (metonymic) relations of contiguity, the contingent moment of naming has an absolutely central and constitutive role. The psychoanalytic category of overdetermination points in the same direction. In this respect, naming is the key moment in the constitution of a ’people’, whose boundaries and equivalential components permanently fluctuate. (227)

Vrd Badiou nimetamine, mis kehtestab geneerilise hulga kui eksisteeriva, kuid ei erista selle hulga elemente. Hulk on nimetatud, kuid täpse kirjelduseta – see võimaldab elementide lisamist, hulga protsessuaalset edasiarendust Nimega seostamise, mitte omaduste loendamise kaudu. Tähtis ka “pidev fluktuatsioon”, mis takistab lõplikku sulgemist (sulgemine on reetmine).

[…] what is crucial for the emergence of the ’people’ as a new historical actor is that the unification of a plurality of demands in a new configuration is constitutive and not derivative. In other words, it constitutes an act in the strict sense, for it does not have its source in anything external to itself. The emergence of the ’people’ as a historical actor is thus always transgressive vis-à-vis the situation preceding it. This transgression is the emergence of a new order. (228)

Rahva loomine ei toimu mingite huvide alusel. Rahva loomise akt loob ka huvid. Eelneva aluse puudumine. See ei tähenda muidugi täielikku isolatsiooni valitsevast kirjelduskeelest, vaid täpse definitsiooni puudumist. Vrd Occupy: meie olemegi meie nõudmised – vastus küsimusele, mis on teie nõudmised. Siin täielik kokku langemine poliitilise subjekti ja huvide vahel.

We can no longer understand capitalism as a purely economic reality, but as a complex in which economic, political, military, technological and other determinations – each endowed with its own logic and a certain autonomy – enter into the determination of the movement of the whole. In other terms, heterogeneity belongs to the essence of capitalism, the partial stablilizations of which are hegemonic in nature. (230)

Finally, there is the question of the status of the political. In my view, the political is linked to what could be called contingent articulation – another name for the dialectic between differential and equivalential logics. In this sense, all antagonism is essentially political. (231)

Kogu antagonism on olemuslikult poliitiline ehk: poliitiline on olemuslikult antagonistlik. Kui käsitleda antagonismi tõlkimatusena, nagu nt Andreas Ventsel on teinud, saame tähendusnihkest poliitilisuse tingimuse? Denotatsiooni ja tähenduse kokkulangemise võimatus loob aluse poliitiliseks praktikaks. Liberaal-demokraatlik poliitika: selle nihke kustutamisvajadus, ühiskond peab olema täpselt kirjeldatav, subjektid paika pandud. Laclau radikaalne demokraatia samuti kokkusobimatu tänapäevase “tegeliku demokraatiaga”?

How does this unifying mechanism operate? According to Empire, it does not involve any kind of political mediation. Because it is only natural, according to the authors, that the oppressed revolt, their unity is simply the expression of a spontaneous tendenct to converge. Unity, as a gift from Heaven, occupies in their theory the same place we attribute to hegemonic articulation. Since vertically separated struggles do not need to be horizontally linked, every political construction disappears. The only principle ensuring the union of the multitude around a common goal is what Hardt and Negri call ’being against’: it is a matter of being against everything, everywhere. The aim is universal desertion. This process is already taking place through the nomadic, rhizomatic movements of people accross frontiers. (240)

What is important is that Hardt and Negri’s approach to this question leads them to oversimplfy the political process. If there is a natrual tendency to revolt, no political construction of the subject of the revolt is needed. (241)

Subjekt eeldab vahendatust ehk kommunikatsiooni. Subjekt saab tekkida ainult (auto)kommunikatsiooniprotsessis, semioosis. (Siit ka etteheide Foucault’le: biopoliitika tegeleb subjektide kui objektidega, ei pööra tähelepanu enesekommunikatsioonile – Foucault küll üritas end viimastel aastatel parandada…)

[…] while police involves the attempt to reduce all differences to partialities within the communitarian whole – to conceive any difference as mere particularity, and refer the moment of universality to a pure, uncontaminated instance […] – politics involves an ineradicable distortion, a part that functions simultaneously as the whole. While the task of political philosophy traditionally has been to reduce politics to police, truly political thought and practice would consist in liberating the political moment from its enthrallment to policed societal frameworks. (245)

Rancière identifies the possibility of politics too much, I believe, with the possibility of emancipatory politics, without taking into account other alternatives – for example, that the uncounted might construct their incountability in ways that are ideologically incompatible with what eiher Rancière or I would advocate politically (in a Fascist direction, for instance). (246)

See on oluline kriitika. Dissensuse-poliitika ei tähenda automaatselt emantsipatiivset poliitikat. Seepärast vajalik edasi mõelda Badiou kolme subjektiprotsessi terminites: truudus, reetmine ja okultatsioon.

The ’people’ is for him [Rancière] as for me, the central protagonist of politics, and politics is what prevents the social from crystallizing in a fully fledged society, an entity defined by its own clear-cut distinctions and functions. (249)

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