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Nathan Coombs “Political Semantics of the Arab Revolts/Uprisings/Riots/Insurrections/Revolutions”

Coombs, Nathan 2011. Political Semantics of the Arab Revolts/Uprisings/Riots/Insurrections/Revolutions. Journal of Critical Globalisation Studies 4: 138-146.

But why exactly is the term ‘revolution’ so politically=charged in comparison to others such as ‘revolt’, ‘uprising’, ‘riot’ or ‘insurrection’? Let us propose that it is because of all the above terms, ‘revolution’ is the one that implies the deepest content. It does not simply  describe  mass  political  actions,  crowds  on  the  street,  or  governments  falling. Instead, it announces an affirmation of the systematic overhaul of existing socio=economic conditions,  within  which  the  popular  mobilisation  plays  an  essential  role  even  while  it remains  insufficient  to  represent  the  overhaul  itself […] (139)

Hence, our first Badiouian axiom regarding revolutions is that the complete social overhaul indicated by the word cannot be fully predicted: a revolution relies on the introduction of novelty that reconfigures the sense of what is possible. (140)

Revolutsioon tugineb uudsuse sissetoomisele, mis muudab võimalike tegevuste välja. Kas seda ei tee ka mäss/ülestõus? Või on siin mõeldud pigem seda, et revolutsiooni käigus organiseerub uudne tegevusväli (korra haaramine, ülevõtmine ennustamatu poolt), mille kuju ei ole võimalik ette ennustada. Ilmselt viimane.

Instead of presenting the idea of the event  as an abstraction, he conceives it as a subtraction, and likewise for the subjective process of affirming an event. The essential difference can be put as follows: the revolution conceived of by social science is one based on  the  accumulation  of  knowledge  of  the  phenomenon  filed  under  the  signifier ‘revolution’,  whereas  for  Badiou  the  event—in  an  ambiguous  mathematico=epistemological register—is the occurrence of the void: the empty set of inconsistency asserting itself as a momentary, vanishing, partitive excess over belonging (see Badiou, 2006, meditations 16=20, pp. 173=211). Or, dropping the quasi set=theoretic language, the difference is that Badiou’s event occurs and recedes as quickly as it happens, leaving only an  indelible  mark  on  those  subjects  given  the  choice  to  affirm  it  and  see  through  its consequences to the end.  It disrupts the regime of knowledge with an irreducible novelty. (140)

Sotsioloogiline revolutsioon: subjektitu ajalooline sündmus; filosoofiline: ainult subjekti toel toimuda saav protsess, mis hõlmab truudust sündmusele.

Let us first mark the most crucial difference: namely, that the term ‘event’ operates as an idea,  whereas  a  revolution,  on  the  other  hand,  consists  of  a  concrete  set  of  factual occurrences. (141)

In rendering the possibility for splits like these into formal language, we have to go beyond Badiou to make the distinction that a revolution has to be both a revolution (a term of itself, much the same as how Badiou constructs the matheme of the event), and also must contain at least one event thought separately from the revolution itself. (141-142)

[…] for a non=subject, a specific revolution Rx is solely the sum of what is known of revolutions past framing the contemporary evental site X. This expresses particularly well non=subjects’ inability to perceive anything more than contingent spatial and temporal variants  in  each  revolution,  and  also  the  social  science  methodology,  which  conceives revolution by cumulatively adding the features of each past revolution to just modify the definition,  controlling  it  within  the  encyclopaedic  regime  of  knowledge. (142)

Mitte-subjekt, ehk revolutsioonist väljaspool seisev pealtvaataja/ajaloolane/sotsioloog jne, kes loendab sündmusi kui fakte, teeb üldistusi, loob entsüklopeedilise revolutsiooni “keele”, mille põhjal saab hinnata/ennustada tulevaste sündmuste “revolutsioonilisust”. Ent subjekti jaoks, kes praktiseerib truudust, ei ole taolist keelt olemas, sellist hinnangukriteeriumit: subjekt on see, kes mõneski mõttes tegutseb pimeduses, tundmata iga järgneva teo tagajärgi.

For  the  non=subjective sociological understanding of revolution, there would probably be no problem in labelling events  in  the  Arab  world  as  revolution  as  long  as  they  match  an  adequate  number  of features present within the sociological knowledge. (144)

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Andrew Garnar “Power, Action, Signs: Between Peirce and Foucault”

Garnar, Andrew 2006. Power, Action, Signs: Between Peirce and Foucault. Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 42(3): 347-366.

I argue that any understanding of the subject must account for the subject being distributed through a field of power. (347)

I think it is clear that Foucault’s target here is the semiology of the Structuralists, but his point might also hold for Peirce. Yet Peirce should be able to escape this challenge since he is concerned with far more than significa-tion. For such an attempt to work though, I believe it necessary to accept, at least in part, Foucault’s agonistic account of human relations. (350)

Foucault kirjutas kuskil, et semiootika tegeleb kommunikatsiooniuuringutega. Kui semiootikat niiviisi (teadete edastamise ja vastuvõtmise teadusena) mõista, välistab see uurimisvaldkonnana võimu. Kuid semiootikat saab kenasti võimusuhete uurimisele laiendada. Siin ei tohiks vastuolu tekkida, kui tuleme foucault’likust vaatepunktist kaugemale.

Our habits guide our conduct. Habits are performed without thought, though thought is key for their development. “What the habit is depends on when and how it causes us to act. As for the when, every stimulus to action is derived from perception; as for the how, every purpose of action is to produce some sensible result.” (CP: 5.400) So there are two key parts to any habit. First, the conditions under which we are lead to use the habit. Second, what actions result from the habit, what it causes us to do. This is not just the mechanics of the habit, what motions are gone through, but also the aim, the purpose, of that action. (350-351)

Power is about structuring habits. Power encourages or discourages certain habits. Power acts through the development and transformation of habits. By inciting, seducing, encouraging, discouraging, prohibiting, or mandating habits, one subject creates the field of possible actions in another. To return to the previous example, teachers create the environment in which habit-production occurs. (352)

Kas õpetaja-subjekt tõepoolest loob õpilaste keskkonna? Foucault eesmärgiks on ju olnud läbi oma töö näidata, et üks subjekt ei oma teise üle võimu, vaid et subjektid paigutuvad võimusuhete võrgustikku, milles nad peavad tegutsema. Õpetaja keskkond on juba institutsionaalselt, diskursiivselt ja ruumiliselt struktureeritud. Kui läheme tagasi valemi juurde “subjekt praktiseerib võimu teise subjekti üle”, ei ole me Foucault’ võimukäsitlust mõistnud.

Unlike traditional discussions of power, Foucault argues that power is not simply repressive, involved with limiting freedom. Instead, power rewards the development of some habits and punishes others. Power is involved at every stage in “constructing” the individual. This point is significant, since Peirce sees habit as a key aspect of being. Habits are what ground the subject in the world, connecting it to the world. Habits allow the subject to successfully navigate through the world. (352)

Power creates knowledge and knowledge sustains power. Knowledge creates spaces for power to operate, while power provides sites for knowledge to be produced. In producing a field of knowledge, one develops techniques for transforming the actions of subjects that fall within that field. Furthermore, every power relation presupposes a body of knowledge about the subjects on which that power is operating. (353)

Iga võimusuhe eeldab teadmist subjektide kohta. See on juba lähemal ja täpsem. Võimusuhe ei ole vägivald, kahene suhe, vaid, Peirce’i järgi, sümboolne. Kokkuleppeline, seaduspärane suhestatus. Ehk ühiskondlikult institutsionaliseeritud. Minnes näitega edasi, õpetaja tegutseb alati juba võimusuhete võrgustikus, mitte pelgalt ei aseta sellesse õpilasi.

The representamen is “something which stands to somebody for something in some respect or capacity.” (CP: 2.228) The object is that thing the representamen stands in for. The interpretant makes the connection between the object and the representamen, determining in what capacity the representamen stands in for the object. In making this connection, the interpretant generates the representamen for the next triad and so on. Thus, we are forever caught up in semiosis. Meaning arises out of this semiotic process. Meaning is never present within a sign. It is derived from later signs. (355)

Siit leiame jälle semiootika põhitõe: märk ei ole iseendaga identne: peab viitama alati millelegi endast väljaspoolsele, olgugi et see väljaspoolne võib olla loodud märgi poolt. Märk kui väljaspoolsust loov protsess. Edaspidi sama ka subjekti puhul, kui subjekt ligikaudselt võrdub märgiga. Subjekt loob piiri sisemise ja välise vahel, subjekt on see piiritlemistegevus, mis loob subjektiivse ja objektiivse eristuse ning seetõttu ei ole meil kunagi võimalik subjekti kui entiteeti fikseerida. Subjekt ei ole lihtsalt keha maailmas, üksus ühiskonnas, vaid piiritlemistegevuse jätkuv rada. Subjektil saab olla ainult ajalugu, mitte positsioon.

So, what then is the status of “truth” now? It would appear that “truth” is an interpretation of a sign, which means it is another sign among others. It is a Peircian symbol, a linguistic sign, which is a sign that has “no existence although it has a real being, consisting in the fact that existents will con-form to it.” (CP 2.292) (356-357)

Tõde kui märk teiste seas. Foucault: diskursus loob omaenese tõe, kustutades oma ajaloolisuse, kontingentsuse. Tõde, mõistetuna diskursuseväliselt, muutuks mitte-märgiks, lõplikuks tähistatavaks, mis jõustaks meie diskursuse (olgu selleks siis subjekti teadvus, keskaegne jumal või teaduslik kindlus). “Fixation of Beliefs” loob aga nt just sellise diskursuse (Peirce’i puhul uskumuste/harjumuste-) välise kinnistamise vastandina teadusliku uuringu, mis peab alati püsima kriitiline, kahtlema uskumustes ja teadmistes, mitte viitama lõplikule tähistatavale.

The truth of a sign will be borne out in action. It this through this process that the sense of which signs are true is produced. Power is in play here because the meaning of signs, what actions result from them, is in question. Power channels those meanings in particular directions. (357)

Through the operations of power, communication by way of symbols becomes possible. By communicating in a field where interpretations are constrained, shared meanings are possible. (357)

„Two things here are all-important to assure oneself of and to remember. The first is that a person is not absolutely an individual. His thoughts are what he is “saying to himself,” that is, is saving [sic] to that other self that is just coming into life in the flow of time. When one reasons, it is that critical self that one is trying to persuade; and all thought whatsoever is a sign, and is mostly of the nature of language. The second thing to remem-ber is that the man’s circle of society (however widely or narrowly this phrase may be understood) is a sort of loosely compacted person, in some respects of higher rank than the person of an individual organism.“ (CP: 5.421) (359)

I propose that habits are a species of symbols. In terms of semiosis, this means that whenever a particular repre-sentamen and object comes up, the same interpretation or translation of the

sign occurs. A habit is a stabilized interpretant, such that the same meaning is always derived from the sign.7 These particular symbols make up a large portion of the self≈sign. They form the battery of meanings we deploy throughout much of our lives. (360)

In point of fact, if I am correct in proposing that power relations are important for symbolic communication, then power is a necessary part of human existence. (361)

Häiring: võimu kasutatakse liialt enesestmõistetavalt ning seetõttu omandab väga laialivalguva kuju, samastudes juba nietzscheliku “jõuga”, mis juhib kõike ja kõiki. Samas, võimu sidumine harjumuste formeerimisega annab sellele üsna täpse ja jälgitava kuju. Samas: igasugune harjumus kehtestatud võimusuhte kaudu?

Why is this significant? I think in large part because Peirce offers a non-Cartesian philosophy of the subject. Or, more properly, a sketch of such a philosophy. Let us return to the 1868 essay “Some Consequences of Four Incapacities.” The essay is one of the single most devastating assaults on Cartesianism. This becomes clear from the first incapacity: “We have no power of Introspection, but all knowledge of the internal world is derived by  hypothetical reasoning from our knowledge of external facts.” (CP: 5.265) (363)

We do not have such open access to the mind. Instead, when we reflect on ourselves, this is reasoning about those things “commonly called external.” This is the reason why the self is not given. The self must be inferred. (363)

Foucault üritas subjektifilosoofiast väljuda. Peirce pakub mitte-kartesiaanliku subjektifilosoofia. Kas need on omavahel ühendatavad? Kreeka-loengud annavad alust mõelda, et on. Kas Foucault mitte ise ei arendanud teatavat subjekti(ajaloo)filosoofiat?

Judy Lubin “The ‘Occupy’ Movement: Emerging Protest Forms and Contested Urban Spaces”

Lubin, Judy 2012. The ’Occupy’ Movement: Emerging Protest Forms and Contested Urban Spaces. Berkeley Planning Journal 25: 184-197.

These protests highlight the inherently political character of the distribution and use of space in urban settings (Rios 2009, Swyngedouw 2009). (184)

Linnaruumile sisemiselt omane poliitilisus? Eelkõige ilmselt subjektsuse-praktikate võimaldaja ning piirajana – kujundajana.

At a moment when the national discourse focused on deficit reduction and austerity measures, Occupy protestors redirected the nation’s attention to the underlying source of the current economic crisis: global corporate interests. (184-185)

By literally and symbolically seizing public spaces, the Occupy Movement has reasserted the primacy of popular interests ahead of corporations. […] In an era in which revolutions are tweeted and televised, the Occupy Movement has demonstrated that new urban protests will increasingly manifest not only in physical forms, but in virtual spaces as well. (185)

Virtuaalruum mitte ainult kui “lisand” tegelikule ruumile, selle representatsioon, vaid vaadeldav samaväärsena, kus “praktiseeritakse vabadust”, n-ö. Virtuaalruumigi kohta võiks ehk öelda, et see on sisemiselt poliitiline, selle asemel et öelda nt, et “uus meedia” võimaldab emantsipatiivset poliitikat või, vastupidi, tõhustab järelevalvetegevust – see on antagonistlike praktikate ruum, milles toimub subjektsuse erinevate vormide tootmine.

Critics of the Occupy Movement point to this lack of leadership and concrete demands as barriers to achieving political change. However, for many Occupiers, replicating the existing hierarchical structures of political leadership is contrary to their populist, democratic goals. The horizontal organizational structure is a response to the corruption and failure of representative democracy to represent the interests of the people (Gautney 2011) and a realization of a collective class consciousness. (187)

Anarhistlikud põhimõtted vastuseisuks kehtivatele, “legitiimsetele” poliitilistele protsessidele. Ma küll ei tahaks siinkohal kasutada “klassiteadvuse realisatsiooni” terminit – see eeldaks eelnevalt eksisteerivat “teadvust”, mida praktika “representeerib”. Pigem tekib poliitiline subjektsus (mitte tingimata “klass”!) just “juhitu” ja “spetsiifiliste nõudmisteta” diskursiivse praktika ja kollektiivse kehaloome kaudu. Praktika ja subjektsus kui samaaegsus; praktika ei representeeri subjekti teadvust!!!

New media tools have allowed for virtual or satellite protests outside of Manhattan to spring up easily through information posted on websites and social networks such as Twitter and Facebook. Protestors and supporters created a strong online presence with the daily publishing of photos and streaming of videos of marches and clashes with police. (187)

Occupiers’ use of Zuccotti Park underscored concerns about the role of private interests in urban governance.  A  privately-owned  public  space  in  New  York’s  financial district, the park was created as part of zoning concessions to developers, which included an additional 300,000 square feet of rentable space (Berg 2011). (189)

Rancière: poliitilise/sotsiaalse ruumi ümberdefineerimine kui poliitilisele omane. Eraomand kui selline muudetakse vaidlusaluseks. Kuivõrd saame lubada avaliku omandi erastamist (teiste sõnadega “liberaliseerimist” ehk vabastamist riiklikust omandist) – tulemuseks ühiskond kui erahuvide konfiguratsioon ja kokkupõrkeruum: kollektiivse praktika (poliitilise subjektsuse) välistamine.

Occupy Wall Street protestors transformed a mostly concrete park into a public square—reclaiming a once-corporate public space for the people. (189)

The occupations also create tensions by calling attention to the underlying antagonistic social relations that permeate city life. By making claims to public spaces, protestors make visible the contradictions in urban life. The critical mass of protestors sleeping in tents juxtaposed against skyscrapers highlights the poverty and homelessness that elite city dwellers conveniently learn to ignore. (190)

The seizing of public spaces and the use of social media to promote and report acts of resistance suggest that in mediated societies, protests configured for virtual audiences are likely to become mainstays of urban social movements. (191)

In somewhat of an irony, after evicting the protestors from Zuccotti Park, Mayor Bloomberg asserted, “Now they will have to occupy the space with the power of their arguments (Tharoor 2011).” (192)

Jällekord: meie olemegi meie nõudmised ehk meie olemegi meie argumendid. Kohalolu ja selle kaudu ruumiloome on meie praktika. “Argumenteerimine” on hegemoonse keelekasutuse pealesurumine: kes te olete (identifitseerige ennast!) ja mida te tahate? Küsimused, mille vastused saavad genereerida vaid reaktsioone, mitte aktsioone (riik, hegemoonne keel kui reaktiivne ehk paigale kinnistav – statistika).

Categories: Judy Lubin, Occupy Wall St