Negative 1nc – Afro-Pessimism K



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The echo of slavery transcends linear history, where the slave is murdered out of the middle passage over and over into both the past and the present. The slave ship moves through time and space, creating a rupture, which guides bullets, police surveillance, the prison industrial complex, and the libidinal economy – the aff’s conception of linear time and progress is a Eurocentric interpretation of temporality which reifies anti-black violence


Dillon 13, Stephen Dillon is a doctor of philosophy from the university of Minnesota, Fugitive Life: Race, Gender, and the Rise of the Neoliberal-Carceral State, Pgs. 24-30, May 2013, Regina Kunzel, Co-adviser, Roderick Ferguson, Co-adviser, http://conservancy.umn.edu/bitstream/11299/153053/1/Dillon_umn_0130E_13833.pdf, NN

Although the connections between slavery and the prison are important to this project, I am also interested in more expansive understandings of the afterlife of slavery. In particular, I am concerned with theories that can help make the connection between the market under chattel-slavery and the market under neoliberalism. In other words, the afterlife of slavery structures much more than the prison or even more than Wacquant’s “carceral continuum.” For instance, Christina Sharpe argues that our very subjectivity is indebted to, and born out of, the “discursive codes of slavery and post-slavery.” For Sharpe, engaging and analyzing a “post-slavery subjectivity” means examining subjectivities constituted by trans-Atlantic slavery and connecting them to present (and past) “mundane horrors that aren’t acknowledged to be horrors.”55 This is one of the main projects of black feminism, as exemplified by Boggs’ engagement with the seemingly innocuous institutions of insurance, state bureaucracy, and the university.56 This project is also central to Hortense Spillers’s classic essay, “Mama’s Baby, Papa’s Maybe: An American Grammar book,” where she connects slavery to the life of the symbolic world. She writes: Even though the captive flesh/body has been ‘liberated,’ and no one need pretend that even the quotation marks do not matter, dominant symbolic activity, the ruling episteme that releases the dynamics of naming and valuation, remains grounded in originating metaphors of captivity and mutilation, so that it is as if neither time nor history, nor historiography or its topics, show movement, as the human subject is ‘murdered’ over and over again by the passions of a bloodless and anonymous archaism, showing itself in endless disguise.57 Like Jackson and Shakur, Spillers argues that slavery ruptures the progress of time. The ways meaning and value are institutionalized have been determined by the violence and terror of slavery. Slavery is a death sentence enacted across generations, one that changes name and shape as time progresses. Freedom presupposes and builds on slavery so that post-slavery subjectivities are shaped by forms of power that resemble and sometimes mimic power under slavery (force, terror, sexual violence, compulsion, torture) while they are also confined by the post-emancipation technologies of consent, reason, will, and choice.58 Frank Wilderson summarizes this more expansive understanding of the afterlife of slavery: “The imaginary of the state and civil society is parasitic on the Middle Passage. Put another way, No slave no world.”59 According to Wilderson, slavery connotes an ontological (not experiential) status for blackness, one that is shaped not by exploitation and alienation, but by accumulation and fungibility (the condition of being owned and traded.).60 In this way, slavery does not lay dormant in the past, but became attached to the political ontology of blackness.61 What is most crucial for my project on the relationship between the afterlife of slavery and neoliberalism is that as freedom navigated the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, it was not innocent and it did not come alone. Something from the past held on to freedom as it maneuvered time and space. Freedom was possessed by its opposite, a ghost wished away by liberal thought that did not so easily disappear. In the 1970s, when the market produced the freedom of capital mobility, individuality, and choice, and the prison manufactured the freedom of safety and security, the spirit of slavery dictated the movements and meanings of that freedom. Indeed, the spirit of slavery lives on in more ways than one can imagine: in the shade of tree-lined suburban streets, in definitions and measures of value, in the prosperity and health of some, and in the hail of the police as one walks down the street. It guides bullets and bombs, makes visible what we see, and vanishes what is right in front of us. It is laced in the cement and steel of the prison, solidified in dreams of liberation, and embedded in psychic life. Although it is sometimes recognizable, it also lives on in what we do not know and cannot remember— in the lives erased, expunged, ended or that were simply never recorded to begin with. Whether it comes as spectacle or something one cannot see or feel, it is always there. The spirit of slavery does more then meddle in the present; rather, it has intensified, seduced, enveloped, and animated contemporary formations of power. Possession names the ways that the operations of corporate, state, individual, and institutional bodies are sometimes beyond the self-possessed will of the living. Something else is also in control, something that may feel like nothing even as it compels movement, motivates ideology, and drives the organization of life and death. In this way, slavery is not a ghost lingering in the corner of the room—rather, its spirit animates the architecture of the house as a whole. The past does not merely haunt the present; it composes the present. As Toni Morrison writes, “All of it is now, it is always now.”62
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