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Alain Badiou “”We Need a Popular Discipline”: Politics and the Crisis of the Negative”

April 24, 2014 Leave a comment

Badiou, Alain 2008. “We Need a Popular Discipline”: Contemporary Politics and the Crisis of the Negative. Critical Inquiry, 34(4): 645-659.

Philosophy has as its condition and horizon the concrete situation of different political practices, and it will try, within these conditions, to find instruments of clarification, legitimation, and so on. This current takes seriously the idea that politics is itself an autonomy of thought, that it is a collective practice with an intelligence all its own. (646)
I think it is necessary to distinguish Marxism from communism. I don’t think it is absolutely necessary to keep the wordcommunism.But I like this word a lot. I like it because it designates the general idea of a society and of a world in which the principle of equality is dominant, a world no longer structured by classical social relations—those of wealth, the division of labor, segregation, persecution by the state, sexual difference, and so on. That is, for me, what communism is. Communism in the generic sense simply means that everyone is equal to everyone else within the multiplicity and diversity of social functions. (648)
Both the insurrectional form of the party and today’s electoral form are articulations by state power. In both cases, the party is subordinated to the question of power and the state. I think we have to break with this subordination and, ultimately, engage political organization (whatever form it may take) in political processes that are independent of—“subtracted” from—the power of the state. Unlike the insurrectional form of the party, this politics of subtraction is no longer immediately destructive, antagonistic, or militarized. (650)
The problem for emancipatory politics today, however, is to invent a nonmilitary model of discipline. We need a popular discipline. I would even say, as I have many times, that “those who have nothing have only their discipline.” The poor, those with no financial or military means, those with no power—all they have is their discipline, their capacity to act together. This discipline is already a form of organization. The question is whether all discipline can be reduced to a military model, the model that dominated the first part of the twentieth century. How can we find, invent, exercise, or experiment with—today, after all, is an age of experimentation—a nonmilitary discipline? (650)
“At a distance from the state” signifies that a politics is not structured or polarized along the agenda and timelines fixed by the state. Those dates, for example, when the state decides to call an election, or to intervene in some conflict, declare war on another state. Or when the state claims that an economic crisis makes this or that course of action impossible. (650)
Distance from the state therefore means that the political process and its decisions should be undertaken in full independence from the state and what it deems important, what it decides to impose as the framework of the political. I understandstate here in the large sense, including the government, the media, and even those who make economic decisions. When you allow the political process to be dominated by the state, you’ve already lost the game because you’ve abdicated in advance your own political independence. (651)
On the political side, every revolutionary or emancipatory politics will have to be a certain adjustment or calibration between the properly negative part of negation and the part I call subtractive. A subtraction that is no longer dependent on the dominant laws of the political reality of a situation. It is irreducible, however, to the destruction of these laws as well. A subtraction might well leave the laws of the situation intact. What subtraction does is bring about a point of autonomy. It’s a negation, but it cannot be identified with the properly destructive part of negation. (652-653)
Our problem today is that the destructive part of negation is no longer, in and of itself, capable of producing the new. We need an originary subtraction capable of creating a new space of independence and autonomy from the dominant laws of the situation. A subtraction, therefore, is neither derived from nor a consequence of destruction as such. If we are to propose a new articulation between destruction and subtraction, we have to develop a new type of negation or critique, one that differs from the dialectical model of class struggle in its historical signification. (653)
It is necessary, then, to have a new articulation of the destructive and subtractive parts of negation so that destruction or violence appears in the form of a protective force, capable of defending something created through a movement of subtraction. (654)
The United States, for example, this nation of immigrants, is today constructing a wall and reinforcing its border security system against immigration, an action largely agreed upon by the Democrats—not necessarily concerning the wall but the need for a substantial increase in the border patrol. In France, this rhetoric has poisoned political life for some time now. It feeds the extreme Right, but, ultimately, the Left always aligns itself with this rhetoric. It’s a very interesting phenomenon because it shows that these destructured masses, poor and deprived of everything, situated in a nonproletarianized urban environment, constitute one of the principal horizons of the politics to come. These masses, therefore, are an important factor in the phenomenon of globalization. The true globalization, today, would be found in the organization of these masses—on a worldwide scale, if possible—whose conditions of existence are essentially the same. Whoever lives in the banlieues of Bamako or Shanghai is not essentially different from someone who lives in thebanlieuesof Paris or the ghettos of Chicago. They might be poorer and in worse conditions, but they are not essentially different. Their political existence is characterized by a distance from the state—from the state and its clients, the dominant classes but also the middle classes, all of whom strive to maintain this distance. On this political problem, I have only fragmentary ideas. It’s a question that is as difficult as the problem of organizing workers in the nineteenth century. I am convinced it is the fundamental problem today. (657)
To return to Spinoza, the situation is no doubt one in which the masses have sunken into what he calls sadness, in which the negative aspect prevails. The political, instead, is always a trajectory toward someone different. And it is an essential condition. In both directions at once. After May ’68, I myself set out to engage workers in an exchange that required both of us to assume this type of trajectory toward someone else. This is missing with the youths of the banlieues, shut up in a collective isolation. (658-659)

 

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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)

Todd May “The Political Thought of Jacques Rancière”

February 13, 2013 Leave a comment

May, Todd 2008. The Political Thought of Jacques Rancière: Creating Equality. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

 

Active Equality in Contemporary Politics

It is a framework that does not speak to the elites of their obligations, but to the demos of their possibilities. It is not a discourse of duty, nor is it a discourse of rights. It is a discourse of emancipation. Unlike mainstream polit-ical theory, Rancière’s articulation of active equality is not commis-sioned by a tradition whose discussants are those who have a part. (142)

Democratic politics “is a matter of interpreting, in the theatrical sense of the word, the gap between the place where the demos exists and a place where it does not, where there are only populations, individu-als, employers and employees, heads of households and spouses, and so on.” (142; Rancière, Disagreement, 88)

Distributive theories of justice, because they concern themselves with what is owed to people, can offer people nothing more than the obligations of others. Whether those obligations are material, social, or, as with Nozick, simply obligations of non-interference, they come to us rather than from us. (144)

In a democratic politics, since the moment of active equality is at the same time and in the same gesture the moment of self-creation, hope is folded into political expression. It is a politics of hope, rather than a politics that offers the resources out of which a person may, if she overcomes her role as recipient, create a bit of hope. (144)

Hope, we are told, is economic, not polit-ical; private, not public. (145)

Democratic politics is not a spectator sport. We do not watch the theorist in reflection and become emancipated. (145)

Rancière claims that the politics of active equality cannot be institutionalized, which denies all permanency to democratic expression. (145)

Rancière writes that consensus democracy, or what he sometimes calls post-democracy, is „the paradox that, in the name of democracy, emphasizes the consen-sual practice of effacing the forms of democratic action. Postdemocracy is the government practice and conceptual legitimization of a democ-racy after the demos, a democracy that has eliminated the appearance, miscount, and dispute of the people and is thereby reducible to the sole interplay of state mechanisms and combinations of social energies and interests . . . This is the actual meaning of what is called consensus democracy.“ (146; Rancière, Disagreement, 101-102)

While in the U.S. the paring away of state services (except those associated with the military) leaves people to their own devices, Europe is more oriented toward a social safety net. Nevertheless, common to both is the view that the political sphere is subservient to the economic one. Otherwise put, capitalist economic development is the answer to questions that once may have seemed political, and the role of the state is to help create the conditions for the efficient (and, in Europe, minimally humane) functioning of a capitalist market. (147)

The technological approach to politics is not far from the traditional liberal political philosophy we considered in the first chapter. It is concerned with the distribution of goods rather than with the par-ticipation of people in the creation of their lives. (149)

Instead of acting in solidarity with those who struggle, humanitarianism places those who might struggle in the position of recipients of aid or intervention. They are to be helped because they cannot help themselves. As with Levinas’ view, it is the vulnerability of the victims that obliges us rather than their equality to us. (152)

Humanitarian assistance is, while certainly necessary at moments, profoundly apolitical. It is a counter-movement to democratic politics. And to the degree to which it substitutes itself for such a politics, the ability to act in solidarity under the banner of equality is com-promised. (152)

In any case, the intervention of states is not  with or alongside peoples (as anarchists have long recognized, states cannot do this), but for them. (153)

First, what terrorism aims at is what has been called our way of life. That way of life is defined by capitalism and liberal freedom. The struggle against terrorism is waged on behalf of a historical legacy of markets and, to one degree or another, individualism and personal liberty. Neoliberalism is, centrally, the object to be protected in the war on terrorism. (155)

He sums up this recent suspicion regarding democratic individualism as a „triple operation: it is necessary, first, to reduce democracy to a form of society; second, to identify this form of society with the reign of egalitarian individualism, subsuming under this concept all sorts of disparate properties from rampant consumerism to claims of minor-ity rights, passing along the way trade union struggles; and finally, to cash out (verser au compte) the “individualist society of the masses” thus identified with democracy in the quest for an indefinite growth that is inherent in the logic of the capitalist economy.“ (156; Rancière, La haine de la democratie, 26)

By reducing all values into market values, everything becomes a matter of personal choice. (157)

That is why, as Rancière points out, when the people do resist, as for instance when the French voted against the European Constitution in May, 2005, this is con-sidered not so much a matter of opposition as of ignorance. We can be more specific. The inequality ascribed to the people is an ignorance about economics. In a world dominated by neoliberalism, those who are not conversant with the workings of the market need to yield their political involvement to those who are. Where pol-itics is a matter of proper economic administration, only those with economic expertise are qualified to participate fully in the political realm. (159)

Rancière points out that a mobile population does not necessarily include those who have no part. (169)

The question of institutionalization is not so much of the present as of the future. It bears upon the character of what we can hope for from a democratic politics. So far, the conception of democratic pol-itics that has been proposed treats it in the context of resistance. A democratic politics, in the present but also in the past, is a dissensus from the police order. But this dissensus is not simply reactive. It does not amount only to a refusal of the police order. It is, more signifi-cantly, an expression – the expression of equality. (176)

Given the complexity of dominations, what guarantee do we have that the results of a democratic politics in one area will not result in a new form of domination arising in another? None at all. (177)

The argument is not that there cannot be a democratic political utopia, but that to envision one in any specificity (that is, aside from the general idea of expressing equal-ity) neglects both the various registers along which domination operates and the contingency that characterizes political struggle. (178)

Alain Badiou “The Communist Hypothesis”

November 27, 2012 Leave a comment

Badiou, Alain 2008. The Communist Hypothesis. New Left Review 49: 29-42.

If we posit a definition of politics as ‘collective action, organized by certain principles, that aims to unfold the consequences of a new possibility which  is  currently  repressed  by  the  dominant  order’,  then  we  would have to conclude that the electoral mechanism is an essentially apolitical procedure. (31)

What is the communist hypothesis? In its generic sense, given in its canonic Manifesto,  ‘communist’  means,  first,  that  the  logic  of  class—the  fundamental  subordination  of  labour  to  a  dominant  class,  the arrangement  that  has  persisted  since  Antiquity—is  not  inevitable;  it can be overcome. The communist hypothesis is that a different collective organization is practicable, one that will eliminate the inequality of wealth and even the division of labour. The private appropriation of mas-sive fortunes and their transmission by inheritance will disappear. The existence of a coercive state, separate from civil society, will no longer appear a necessity: a long process of reorganization based on a free association of producers will see it withering away. (34-35)

‘Communism’ as such denotes only this very general set of intellectual representations. It is what Kant called an Idea, with a regulatory function,  rather  than  a  programme.  It  is foolish  to  call  such  communist principles utopian; in the sense that I have defined them here they are intellectual patterns, always actualized in a different fashion. As a pure Idea of equality, the communist hypothesis has no doubt existed since the beginnings of the state. (35)

The political problem, then, has to be reversed. We cannot start from an  analytic  agreement  on  the  existence  of  the  world  and  proceed  to normative action with regard to its characteristics. The disagreement is not over qualities but over existence. Confronted with the artificial and murderous division of the world into two—a disjunction named by the very term, ‘the West’—we must affirm the existence of the single world right from the start, as axiom and principle. The simple phrase, ‘there  is  only  one  world’,  is  not  an  objective conclusion.  It  is  perfor-mative:  we  are  deciding  that  this  is  how  it  is  for  us. (38)

A first consequence is the recognition that all belong to the same world as myself: the African worker I see in the restaurant kitchen, the Moroccan I see digging a hole in the road, the veiled woman looking after children in a park. That is where we reverse the dominant idea of the world united by objects and signs, to make a unity in terms of living, acting beings, here and now. (39)

The single world of living women and men may well have laws; what it cannot have is subjective or ‘cultural’ preconditions for existence within it—to demand that you have to be like everyone else. The single world is precisely the place where an unlimited set of differences exist. Philosophically, far from casting doubt on the unity of the world, these differences are its principle of existence. (39)

The  simplest  definition  of  ‘identity’  is the series of characteristics and properties by which an individual or a group recognizes itself as its ‘self’. But what is this ‘self’? It is that which, across all the characteristic properties of identity, remains more or less invariant. It is possible, then, to say that an identity is the ensemble of properties that support an invariance. (39-40)

Defined  in  this  way,  by  invariants,  identity  is  doubly  related  to  difference: on the one hand, identity is that which is different from the rest;  on  the  other,  it  is  that  which  does  not  become  different,  which is invariant. The affirmation of identity has two further aspects. The first form is negative. It consists of desperately maintaining that I am not  the  other. […] The second involves the immanent development of identity within a new situation—rather like Nietzsche’s famous maxim, ‘become what you are’. The Moroccan worker does not abandon that which constitutes his individual identity, whether socially or in the family; but he will gradually adapt all this, in a creative fashion, to the place in which he finds himself. He will thus invent what he is—a Moroccan worker in Paris—not through any internal rupture, but by an expansion of identity. (40)

The political consequences of the axiom, ‘there is only one world’, will work  to  consolidate  what  is  universal  in  identities.  An  example—a local experiment—would be a meeting held recently in Paris, where undocumented  workers  and  French  nationals  came  together  to demand the abolition of persecutory laws, police raids and expulsions; to demand that foreign workers be recognized simply in terms of their presence: that no one is illegal; all demands that are very natural for people who are basically in the same existential situation—people of the same world. (40)

The virtue of courage constructs itself through endurance within the impossible; time is its raw material. What takes courage is to operate in terms of a different durée to that imposed by the law of the world. The point we are seeking must be one that can connect to another order of time. (41)

Brian Massumi “Requiem for Our Prospective Dead”

March 26, 2012 Leave a comment

Massumi, Brian 1998. Requiem for Our Prospective Dead (Toward a Participatory Critique of Capitalism). – Kaufman, Eleanor; Heller, Kevin Jon (eds). Deleuze and Guattari: New Mappings in Politics, Philosophy, and Culture. Minneapolis; London: University of Minnesota Press: 40-64

The object of capitalist power does not preexist the exercise of that power. Productive power is exercised on points of indeterminacy: on molecules of genericness fusing singular atoms of sociality in an unstable primal soup of power. (54)

Every socially recognized class is a potential market. Productive capitalist power is directly a market-expansion tool; and conversely, every market-expansion tool is directly a form of capitalist power. The creation of a niche market through advertising is the creation of niche power-object that is also a potential political constituency. Social emergence, the irruption of new forces of existence, are precapitalized. In other words, the power to exist has been transformed into an internal variable of the capitalist supersystem. (55)

Life and death are fused in the generic figure of „humanity“ in crisis, then are reparticularized, reimplanted, proceduralized, and valorized in a variety of ways. (55)

It is as artificial to separate command from control as it is to separate death from life. Command (power over life, power of death) and control (power to enliven), though really distinct, cofunction. They are intervowen into the fabric of everyday life, and their uneasy ground-level mixes can be seen to lie along the same continuum of power. On that continuum, the quality of their respective effects converge. On the one hand, the command subtraction of a potential provokes a reflexive evasion or adaptive alteration: command is also productive of life; control is its by-product. On the other hand, the field of noncoercive, incitative, power-of-control channelings is punctuated and porously delimited by command attacks, to which it regularly appeals in self-defense. Command and control are reciprocal by-products, as are life and death. (56)

Foucault’s disciplinary institutions can be seen as normative command centers radiating control, productive less of sovereignty than of eddies of social order. (56)

„Control“ is best taken in a sense close to its cybernetic sense: systems’ control of input, output, and the transformative operations effected in the autonomous machine – applied to bodies (defined as broadly as possible, to include images) rather than to information. (57)

Control involves the assimilation of powers of existence, at the moment of their emergence (their phased passing), into a classificatory schema determining normative orbits around which procedural parameters for negotiation and advocacy are set. It has to do with the production of socially valorized normative entities. (57)

The meaning of normative has changed. Normativity becomes synonymous with collective visibility and social operativity – with living itself (and with illness and death „with dignity“, in other words actively transformed int an affirmation of life). (57)

The principle of modulation states that the capitalist supersystem must be characterized, globally, as a modulatory social control system conditioned by and conditioning command (the „political“ defined narrowly as autocratic decision backed by effective force). (58)

Deviance, decoding, and structural escape are also, in effect, determined (as channeled transformative passage, captive social fluidity productive of new norms, codes, symbolic structures). (59)

In the deregulatroy environment of contemporary capitalism, every apparatus of government power is under intense pressure to reinvent itself as a self-reflective, self-producing system subordinated less to the will of a „people“ than to measurable output criteria defined in directly capitalist terms („productivity“ and „profitability“). (59)

Resistance, if it is possible (and again, I think it is), needs to be reinscribed in the generic. As it is usually conceived, resistance starts from a particularity and either defends or deepens that particularity. But particularity is an effect of the very system of determination that resistance is meant to resist. It is a reductive embodiment of the singular-generic in a serially determinate, normatively specifiable entity. Resistance must be reconceptualized as an operation on the generic: its direct embodiment as multply singular. The tactical embodiment of the groundless ground of capitalist power would short-circuit its channelings. It would dephase controlled emergence: in other words, envelop locally the globality of its phasings (this is the technical definition of „singularity“ in chaos theory). Resistance would be the condensation of vital powers of emergence – and multiple deaths. In other words, it would define itself less as an oppositional pracitce than as a pragmatics of intensified ontogenesis: at life’s ledge. This is the countercapitalist principle of vitalist metaconstructivism. This principle can only be fully theorized through its own pragmatic application. In other words, experimentation. (60)

Daniele Monticelli “Poliitika ja/kui sõprus”

February 18, 2012 Leave a comment

Monticelli, Daniele 2012. Poliitika ja/kui sõprus. Agambeni mis-tahes-singulaarsused ja nende tulev kogukond. – Vikerkaar nr 1-2: 149-165

Agambeni suveräänne erand pole järjekordne nimetus juba triviaalseks saanud ideele, et kogukondliku identiteedi ehk „meie“-ruumi kujunemine eeldab piiride tõmbamist, mille taha jäävad ohtlikud ja võõrad „nemad“. Sel juhul räägiksime lihtsalt „meie“ sissearvamisest ja „nende“ väljaarvamisest. Suveräänne erand, vastupidi, ei tõmba, vaid pigem ähmastab piire sisemise ja välise vahel. Paljas elu pole seega lihtsalt bioloogiline elu enne või väljaspool poliitikat, paljas elu luuakse hoopis erandi eikellegimaal kui võimule vajalik objekt: „võib öelda, et biopoliitilise keha tootmine on suveräänse võimu algupärane tegevus.“ Meie/nemad vastandused on selles valguses lihtsalt n-ö puru silmaajamine; neist kinni hoides muutume me pimedaks asjaolu suhtes, et „meie“ kui biopoliitiline keha oleme tegelikult (bio)võimu jaoks juba alati (potentsiaalselt) ohtlikud ja võõrad „nemad“. See aga tähendab, et iga kord, kui me nõustume ideega, et „meie“ koosolemise vajalikuks eelduseks on „nende“ välistamine […], anname oma panuse palja elu ja suveräänse võimu suhete müstifitseerimise ning tegelikult suurendame tõenäosust sattuda kunagi ise välistatu positsiooni. (151-152)

Agamben räägib sellisest olukorrast kui „poliitika varjutusest“, sest keelest võõrandunud inimesed pole enam poliitilises mõttes rahvas (see demos, milles peitub demokraatia jõud), vaid paljas elu, mida (bio)võim vahetult tekitab, kujundab ja halvimal juhul ka lõpetab. (152-153)

Keelest võõrandunud rahva poliitilise agentsuse likvideerimisega ja rahva redutseerimisega paljaks eluks käib käsikäes rahva rekonstrueerimine avaliku arvamusena – abstraktsete omaduste järgi liigendatuna ja keeles, mis on eraldatud vaatemängu sfääri: „elu mitmekesised vormid (on) abstraktselt ümber kodeeritud sotsiaal-juriidilisteks identiteetideks […]“ [Means w Ends, lk 7] „Sõbra“-essee terminoloogias on siin tegemist predikatiivsete mõistetega, mis võimaldavad üksikindiviidide paigutamist „sobivatesse“ ühiskondlikesse gruppidesse. Täpselt see, mida sõbra puhul teha ei saa. (153)

Niisiis, oma tühjusele vaatamata ei lakka vaatemängu sfääri eraldatud keel konstrueerimast abstraktseid identiteete, mida esitatakse kui indiviidide reaalseid olemusi (essentse), varjates niimoodi fakti, et tegelikult on keel elu maha jätnud ja viimane on allutatud vahetule võimule. (154)

Niisiis me peaksime loobuma palja eksistentsi (elu) ja sellele tähendust andva essentsi (abstraktsete omaduste) „uute ja efektiivsemate või autentsemate“ lõimimisviiside ehk ajaloolis-poliitiliste ülesannete otsingutest ning pigem „osutama kesksele tühjusele“ ja riskima enesega sellessamas tühjuses. (155)

Teisisõnu, traditsioone tühjendav vaatemänguline experimentum linguae avab meile võimaluse kogeda meile kõigile ühist „keskset tühjust“, meie koos-jagatud olemist, teispool meid eraldavaid antusi – konkreetseid keeli, kultuure, traditsioone. (156)

Riskides endaga keelelise puhtas medium’is ehk keskses tühjuses, on meil tänapäeval võimalik luua uus eluvorm, mida Agamben nimetab „mis-tahes-singulaarsuseks“ (singoliarità qualunque), ja „tuleb kogukond“ (comunità che viene), mis nendest singulaarsustest koosnebki. (156)

Puhas ühisus (kommunikeeritavus) õõnestab iga olemasoleva kogukonna pretensiooni olemuslikule eraldatusele, sest näitab, kuidas kõigi identiteetidest lähtuvate sisse- ja väljaarvamise kriteeriumide aluseks on tegelikult keel, mitte mingi keeleväline olemus/essents; see aga tähendab, et iga antud sisse- või väljaarvamist (ehk jagunemist, divisione) saab keele kaudu seada kahtluse alla algse kommunikeeritavuse ja ühisuse (ehk koos-jagamise, con-divisione) nimel. (157)

[…] inimeste keeleline olemus tähendab seda, et nende ainus spetsiifiline võime on tegelikult nende võimetus kunagi täielikult ja lõplikult iseendaga ühte langeda. (158)

[…] tuleva olendi singulaarsus „määratleb“ ennast ainult suhte kaudu omaenda võimaluste koguhulgaga, omaenda mistahesusega. (159)

Selle asemel et võtta kuju teatud identifitseeriva essentsi abstraheerimise kaudu paljast eksistentsist, mis-tahes-singulaarsus on oma (mitmekesised) olemisviisid (mis tahes need ka oleksid), ilma et ükski neist olemisviisidest toimiks tema identifitseerimise kriteeriumina, teda määrava omadusena (essentsina). (160)

Mis-tahes-singulaarsuste võimetus ei osuta mingisugusele loobumisele või tegevusetusele, vaid seda tuleb pigem mõista eespool mainitud „võime-mitte“ ja keele kui „kõige ühisema“ taustal. Olla võimetu tähendab siin riskida endaga, eksponeerides end keelele kui niisugusele, põgenemata võimustavatesse identiteetidesse (kodaniku eneseäratundmine põgenikuna). Mis-tahes-singulaarsuse omnivalents tuleneb aga tema piirnemisest võimalikkuste koguhulgaga (mis-tahes-võimalus). See ühelt poolt vabastab ta oma koha paikapanemisest teatud (keelelises ja sotsiaal-poliitilises) süsteemis, teiselt poolt päästab ta langemast palja elu väärtusetusse ja tähendusetusse. (160-161)

[…] koosneb tulev kogukond singulaarsustest, mis – kuna nad ei sarnane (partikulaarselt) kellegi teisega – saavad (geneeriliselt) sarnaned kellega tahes. (161) – „objektita koos-jagamine“

Muuta ennast äratuntavaks poliitiliseks subjektiks tähendab aga loobuda oma singulaarsusest ja mistahesusest, teha endast (olgu või kriitiline) osa sellest (olgu või reformitud) partikulaarsest süsteemist, mille koosolemise viis on ühildamatu mis-tahes-singulaarsuste ühise eluga. Niimoodi oleme juba liikunud sõprusest eemale, konsensuse poole. (164)

Todd May “Anarchism from Foucault to Rancière”

December 19, 2011 Leave a comment

May, Todd 2009. Anarchism from Foucault to Rancière. – Amster, Randall; DeLeon, Abraham; Fernandez, Luis A.; Nocella, Anthony J.; Shannon, Deric (eds). Contemporary Anarchist Studies: An introductory anthology of anarchy in the academy. London and New York: Routledge: 11-17

There is no analogy of the form the state: anarchism:economy:Marxism. We might define domination instead as referring more broadly to oppressive power relations. Since some people think of power and oppression as coextensive, we might be tempted to simplify the definition of domination to a reference to power relations. However, this will not do. For reasons we will see when we turn to Foucault, the existence of power by itself is no guarantee of oppression. (12)

If domination is elastic, then its different appearances are irreducible to a specific form of domination. (12)

First, if power is creative in the way Foucault describes, and if it arises in the welter of practices in which we participate, then there can be oppression without there being oppressors. Since power is not simply a matter of what A does to B, but can be a matter of who A is made to be by the practices in which she is engaged, then it is possible that A can be oppressed without there being a B that actually does the oppressing. (14)

The second conclusion, in a sense a complement to the first, is that there can be relationships of power that are not oppressive. […] Our practices, individually and in combination with others, are constantly creating us to be certain kinds of beings. And since power is pervasive, we cannot avoid asking which relations of power are oppressive and which are not. Looking at an arrangement of power, we must ask whether it is creating something that is bad for those who are subject to it. (14)

[For Ranciére] A democratic politics is ultimately a resistance against the mechanisms of an order that distributes roles on the basis of hierarchical presuppositions. (15)

What is key to understanding Rancière’s view is to grasp the role that the concept of equality plays. First and foremost, it is not a demand, but rather a presupposition. There may well be demands associated with a democratic politics; indeed, there usually are. However, what characterizes a political movement as democratic is not the demands it makes but the presupposition out of which it arises. (16)

In Rancière’s view, what arises out of a democratic politics is a political subject. In fact, he calls the emergence of a democratic politics  subjectification. Where there were once scattered individuals dominated by the mechanisms of a police order, with the appearance of a democratic politics there is a collective subject of resistance […] (16)

And just as Foucault shows how specific forms of domination arise within specific historical trajectories, Rancière conceives how resistance to those forms of domination can occur without resorting to any form of identity politics. (16)

We cannot resist now, and create equality later. (16)