Affective Police Reform 1AC/1NC



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Affect First

Education + Politics


We infuse pedagogy with affective to resists the move to police our encounters with others. This is crucial for the possibility of education and politics-to-come.

Rotas and Springgay 13 (Nikki, PhD student at OISE, University of Toronto, part of the Department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning, specializing in Curriculum Studies and Teacher Development. AND Stephanie, Associate Professor in the Department of Curriculum, Teaching, and Learning at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto. ““You Go to My Head”: Art, Pedagogy and a “Politics-to-Come” 2013 Pedagogies: An International Journal Pages 287-288 http://s3.amazonaws.com/academia.edu.documents/32724029/Pedagogies.pdf?AWSAccessKeyId=AKIAIWOWYYGZ2Y53UL3A&Expires=1498859137&Signature=hJNE56FmOBRNETV6%2B1KKjHkGiXY%3D&response-content-disposition=inline%3B%20filename%3DRotas_N._and_Springgay_S._2013_._You_Go.pdf // LP)

Considering Guattari’s (1995) proposition of “how to make a class operate like a work of art?” we want to speculate on the potential to imagine a classroom – or pedagogy – becoming infused with movement and affect. If classrooms were to become a diagrammatic space, an elastic touching and sensing fold, then could we envision a more “fleshy” understanding of pedagogy? Just as the figurative and the figural arise out of the same stuff and are scrambled and re-assembled by the diagram continuously, there is a risk that these new emergences can become quickly systematized and enter into reproductive cycles. In the cycle of capture and containment where rules are codified and applied, bodies become regulated and standardized. This is something we see continuously in education in which, as Massumi (2002a) writes, “becoming becomes history (p. 77). Using a football metaphor, Massumi describes the ways that variation and the diagrammatic add to a players’ mastery of technique. If we play within the strict rules of the game, there is no change. If we break the rules completely, we receive a red card and our intervention is no longer of any value. So the diagrammatic – composed of the figurative and the figural – is a manner of creatively working within the gaps, in order to push their limits. Thus, if change is to occur in education, then there might be value in teasing out the idea of making a class operate like a work of art, where a work of art is understood through movement and the diagram – as a politics-to-come. From a deleuzian perspective, art means rethinking what we know is possible and (re)opening our bodies to processes that make us encounter many possibilities. Grosz argues that art is “that which impacts on the body most directly, that which intensifies and affects most viscerally” (2008, p. 24). And so, there is of course this materiality to artmaking, the qualified intensity that we make note of. However, through the work of Borsato, we highlight the unqualified intensities of the encounter, a politics-to-come. Massey (2005) argues that this kind of politics pops up in-between spaces. She says, ‘politics’ in part precisely lies in not being able to reach for that kind of rule; a world which demands the ethics and the responsibility of facing up to the event; where the situation is unprecedented and the future is open. (p. 141) If there is any possibility for imagining a class like a work of art, then this struggle, of re-thinking politics as movement, as yet-to-come seems crucial. The class operating as art is an incredibly important diagrammatic site, where bodies touch and the potential for new growth and creation emerges. This is an education far too important to surrender to the stultifying forces of a pedagogy that “is.” Yet, thinking about this question in an experimental and exploratory way also takes us beyond simply rethinking the dominance of vision and reason in the arts and education. Rather than see the body and its theories of embodiment as providing relief from male-centred, rational, hierarchical or normative accounts of knowing and being, a deleuzeguattarian approach to movement and politics inhabits the insides of the flesh and engenders other ways of living differently. Moreover, the question of how to imagine a class as art is not an argument to favour non-traditional materials, collaborative art making or relational aesthetics. In fact, in shifting ones sensibility of “a” class to that of art is definitely not a call to all of a sudden move snowbanks with one’s students! Rather, the implications of a call to movement, where we are forced to thought, is to “form strange new becomings, new polyvocalities” (Deleuze & Guattari, 1988, p. 191). In an era of standardization and representation, the diagram becomes “a rhythm emerging from chaos, the manipulation of change to suggest the emergence of another world (O’Sullivan, 2009, p. 255), a politics that resides between the known and the yet-to-come.


Policing


Without addressing the affective tendencies of paranoia, police will continue to view emerging technological and social developments as a threatening breakdown of all society. Affective analysis must come first.

Watson 99 (Sean, Lecturer at the University of the West of England, “Policing the Affective Society: Beyond Governmentality in the Theory of Social Control,” SOCIAL & LEGAL STUDIES 0964 6639 (199906) 8:2 Copyright © 1999 SAGE Publications, London, Thousand Oaks, CA and New Delhi, Vol. 8(2), 227–251; 008043)

THE AFFECTIVE SOCIETY

We need a social theory which reflects this affective spectrum within the organic infrastructure of the human. We actually find this in the Deleuz- ian/Foucauldian paradigm. Deleuze and Guattari argue that capitalist societies themselves are divided. On the one hand they have ‘schizophrenic’ tendencies associated with the market – tendencies which tend to decode and recode human bodies through signs, images and objects. These can be combined with every other sign, image and object, articulated through the accelerating assem- blages of communications technology and global capitalism, powered by elec- tricity and human desire (Deleuze and Guattari, 1977; 1992). These schizophrenic effects of the post/late-modern marketplace have of course been much commented upon by Jean Baudrillard and Frederick Jameson, among others, since Deleuze and Guattari’s ground-breaking work. So why are we not culturally ‘deterritorialised’ – why are we not all ‘schizo’s’?9 Because capitalism contains powerful paranoid forces of ‘reterritorialisation’. These include, according to Deleuze and Guattari, the Oedipalising effects of the nuclear family which implants a minimal level of stability into our bodily coding, or ‘striation’, and the institutions of the state which mop up some of the worst effects of deterritorialisation by engaging in massive disciplinary and normalising projects (Deleuze and Guattari, 1977). We see, then, that as the schizophrenic effects of the market have become ever more potent, so the governmental institutions of the state have expanded to immense proportions. Lacan’s and Foucault’s work charts two different aspects of the social Imagin- ary in its efforts to assert some order upon human desires. Lacan’s work is an account of the processes which attempt to fix desire through Symbolic Oedi- palisation, and Foucault’s work is a catalogue of the paranoid forces of the state and other institutions of reterritorialisation as they have progressed in response to the schizophrenic effects of capitalism. Key among these disci- plinary institutions is, of course, professional policing. CONCLUSION I have suggested that we could better understand police culture if we analysed it from the point of view of the affective repertoires which struc- ture it. I have then put forward the proposition that police occupational culture might, from the point of view of affective repertoires, be charac- terised as culturally paranoid (and I have clearly set out what I mean by cul- tural paranoia). I have shown that the mainstream police studies literature strongly supports such an interpretation. I have then gone on to look at some findings from my own research and asked how they might be theorised. I have proposed that policing is in fact a function of what Michel Foucault has called ‘governmentality’, and I have then taken the novel step of identifying governmentality with Jacques Lacan’s notion of the Imaginary. This would imply then that the police are the institutional embodiment of the Imagin- ary. I have then identified a performative contradiction in which the police find themselves. They want to identify themselves with the rule of law, but law is a creature of Lacan’s Symbolic order of language. Thus while they want to identify with the rule of law, they always feel it to be inadequate, somehow lacking something – it can never live up to the rigorous standards of order and stasis demanded by the Imaginary. I have suggested that such tensions within their cultural identity push them into a hostile and defensive splitting of the world. Then there is the order of the Real, the extreme flu- idity and difference of the material world which constantly threatens the divisions and ordering which the Imaginary and Symbolic orders undertake in the construction of human consciousness, identity and culture. I have sug- gested that the Deleuzian paradigm (including feminist versions of this framework) may afford help in understanding affective processes at this more basic material level, and in this case may also help to explain, at a his- torical level, why the police have necessarily found themselves undertaking a social role which is fundamentally paranoid in character. They may also give clues regarding what kinds of affective response we can expect in the police community to further levels of deterritorialisation of human desires at the social level. We can begin to see why the police must function as the institutional embodiment of the Imaginary – they are at the heart of the paranoid pole of modernity, and when we zoom back down to the perspective of the indi- vidual police officer we can see his/her predicament. S/he cannot help but be suspicious of heterogeneity, s/he cannot help but be repelled by the idiosyn- cratic, that is his/her affective role in the larger scheme of things. S/he must personify that Imaginary desire for simplicity, order and stasis which is within us all. This perhaps gives us some fresh insight into the recently resur- gent discussion of institutional racism among the British police. From this perspective we can see clearly how an organisational mandate can be directly linked not only to a certain range of institutional practices but to particular emotional orientations to socially marginal groupings. These links are sys- temic – not just a question of a few emotional ‘bad apples’. Even more uncomfortably, it may even be that our own tolerance of differ- ence and social heterogeneity is conditional upon us having the bearers of the social Imaginary among us, in order to provide us with some sense of onto- logical security. It is only because they are paranoid that we feel safe to celebrate difference – a sort of emotional division of labour. One could perhaps speculate, then, that it is in times of the most extreme social fragmentation, at times of crisis for the family and the governmental disciplines, that police officers feel themselves most repelled by the society in which they work, and gravitate towards ‘despising’ positions. In my own interviews with them they did express such sentiments regarding perceived social fragmentation. They expressed similar concerns about the effects of the mass media and other communication technologies. Why? Because, they said, they make people desire things that are not appropriate for them, they combine things which do not belong together, they constantly create new hybrids. Human desires are deterritorialised, our images of ourselves, our communities and our history are thrown into turmoil. The ‘hyperreality’ of these new information spaces is unpredictable, uncontrollable, unregulat- able. It is a massive flow of images and energies – nothing is fixed. In truth the post-modern fascination with the hyperreal may turn out to be an even more subtle means of social control than the disciplines of modernity. However, that is not how it looks from the point of view of the (very modern) policing Imaginary. From their point of view it looks as if all hell has broken loose and they are repelled by what they see. Down on the ground we know that ‘re-moralising’ is failing – because there are no longer any easily locatable fixed communities to re-moralise – nothing to identify with as an object of salvation. Does this mean that we will see an inevitable slide towards the predominance of more aggressive, and cynical, affective orientations within police culture? As Žižek says, ‘ “Real” violence is a kind of acting out that emerges when the symbolic fiction that guarantees the life of a community is in danger’ (Žižek, 1996). Such questions regarding the affective currents dominating our cultural landscape are of the utmost importance, yet until we have a comprehensive theory of the affective society, together with appropriate research programmes, we have no hope of answering them.

Root Cause


Affective Relation to the Body Must Come First- Anxiety about the body produces a paranoid fear that is then projected onto racialized, gendered, and criminal subjects. We control the root cause.

Watson 99 (Sean, Lecturer at the University of the West of England, “Policing the Affective Society: Beyond Governmentality in the Theory of Social Control,” SOCIAL & LEGAL STUDIES 0964 6639 (199906) 8:2 Copyright © 1999 SAGE Publications, London, Thousand Oaks, CA and New Delhi, Vol. 8(2), 227–251; 008043)

This is a convenient point to return briefly to the general question of masculinity. Elizabeth Grosz suggests that masculinity is the product of a process of alienation – the alienation through which men have been identi- fied with mind, and women with body; an alienation which indeed is the basis upon which the whole Cartesian dualist illusion is constructed – the purity of the rational mind separated out from the chaotic fluid complexities of the corporeal (Grosz, 1994: Ch. 8). Grosz discusses Julia Kristeva’s and Mary Douglas’ work on the way in which body fluids can evoke feelings of desire, disgust and revulsion due to their designation as dirt. This designation as dirt in turn is a consequence of the ambivalent status of body fluids with regard to the body – part of it but not part of it, inside it and outside it, controlled by it but ultimately uncontrollable. The body fluids are a source of moral concern in their own right – but they point to a more general (but less mani- fest) concern with the complexity and unmanageability of the body and its desires. Grosz asks: could the reduction of men’s body fluids to the by-products of pleasure and the raw materials of reproduction, along with men’s refusal to acknowledge the effects of flows that move through various parts of the body and from the inside out, have to do with men’s attempt to distance themselves from the very kind of corporeality – uncontrollable, excessive, expansive, disruptive, irrational – that they have attributed to women? (Grosz, 1994: 200) Through this alienation, then, ‘women are attributed the very powers and capacities that men fear in themselves’ (Grosz, 1994: 200). This is why men often experience their own bodies as the source of unmanageable impulses which can overwhelm them, but at the same time are not really a part of them. So Grosz argues that women come to stand in for the difference and com- plexity of the body that men cut out of their own self-representations. But why should it be only women who are vessels for this loathed and feared ambiva- lence of the body? Grosz argues that this kind of masculinity is so unable to tolerate difference that the fundamental and irreducible corporeal difference between the sexes is denied, and the different (in this case women) are con- structed instead as a ‘lesser version of the same’ (Grosz, 1994: 208). But could not this be applied to all of the various constructions of difference encountered in this article? It is only through the attempted expulsion of the improper, the disarranged, the unclean (an attempt, as Kristeva observes, that is always pro- visional and ultimately impossible), that the representation of order can con- tinue’ says Grosz, and this is what we have seen throughout this paper, but in relation not only (or even primarily) to women, but to racial minorities, the unemployed, young people, lifestyle minorities and so on (Grosz, 1994: 201). Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer, in their analysis of the affective infrastructure of anti-Semitism, made similar claims to those put forward by Grosz. They argued that there is a consistent tendency of human communi- ties to scapegoat difference. They use the term ‘idiosyncrasy’. What they refer to here is the experience of unease, even revulsion, inspired by an encounter with an individual or group whose cultural ‘programming’ is deeply alien (Adorno and Horkheimer, 1992: 168–204). To take a simple example, all human communities seem to have conventions regarding the regulation of space immediately around the body. Normal encounters between strangers would exclude invasion of this space except under carefully regulated rules (such as the rules regarding shaking hands, for example). Any other kind of invasion would be inappropriate. The rules are slightly different for encoun- ters between friends, family, lovers and so on. Generally we do not even notice that we are following such rules, they remain invisible until they are broken. As Harold Garfinkel noted, the breaking of these rules not only fore- grounds the existence of the rule, but brings about powerful affective responses – anger, revulsion, disgust (Garfinkel, 1967: 46–50). So when two deeply different cultural systems encounter one another, such responses are built into the encounter, simply because their deep cultural rules are differ- ent. This indeed is Žižek’s explanation for ethnic conflict in general: What really bothers us about the ‘other’ is the peculiar way it organizes its enjoyment: precisely the surplus, the ‘excess’ that pertains to it – the smell of their food, their ‘noisy’ songs and dances, their strange manners, their attitude to work. . . . The ground of incompatibility between different ethnic subject positions is thus not exclusively the different structure of their symbolic identifications. What categorically resists universalisation is rather the particu- lar structure of their relationship towards enjoyment. (Žižek, 1990: 54) But why do transgressions of these deep rules disturb us? According to Adorno and Horkheimer they do so because they break the spell of con- sciousness, they bring us back face to face with the unassimilable reality of ‘circumambient nature’ – of its flux, complexity, fluidity and of the mute, meaningless fact of material reality, and in particular the body (Adorno and Horkheimer, 1992: 180). This is Lacan’s ‘return of the Real’. We attempt to master it, simplify, contract, make transparent but ultimately the brute het- erogeneity of Becoming escapes us. We are ourselves a part of the Real below the level of consciousness. The organism is itself a torrent of complexity. For Deleuze and Guattari this flux of Becoming, the ‘virtual’, at the non-human levels of the organism is the real, vital spark. It is actually here below the level of conscious experience that ‘the new’ emerges (Deleuze and Guattari, 1992, 1994). So we are at war with ourselves: as organisms we oscillate within an affective spectrum, with an ecstacy of chaos and potential creativity at one end and the paranoid enjoyment of stasis and repetition at the other. Encoun- ters with transgression always evoke a flood of virtual affect in us but whether this contracts into a positive or negative emotion is very difficult to predict. Art is often appreciated for its transgressive effects but it is also often loathed. We can find ourselves quite genuinely not knowing whether to feel attracted or repelled by an image. Very similar things happen in encounters with idio- syncratic people and (for us) idiosyncratic cultures. What makes the flood of virtual affect turn sometimes into celebration, and sometimes into contempt, hatred and destructiveness?

Impact Framing


Affective responses to the world shape ‘rational’ assessments of threats. This is why debaters are more concerned with terrorist plots than with slipping in the shower, even though the latter is more likely than the former. Analysis of affective investments is a prior question to risk assessment regarding police policy.

Philips 20 (Chas. Assistant Prof. of Political Science at Gettysburg College. “Human without Image: Deleuzian Critique beyond the Neighbourhood Effect” in Deleuze and Guattari Studies 14.1 (2020): 152–176 DOI: 10.3366/dlgs.2020.0395 © Edinburgh University Press www.euppublishing.com/dlgs)

C. The Problem of Statistical Probability and Rational Evaluation



Relatedly, the realm of the affective is not constituted through statistical probability or rational evaluation – a point on which most social scientists would readily agree. One’s reactions are not always the result of a reasoned determination, even if each of us has the capacity to reason. And one’s reactions to experiences are not informed exclusively through rationality. To see the how affect organises reactions irrespective of data to the contrary, consider why the thought of slipping in the shower, being diagnosed with heart disease or commuting to work does not elicit the same visceral fear-response as the possibility of terrorist plots, school shootings and shark attacks.9 Explaining to someone who is afraid of terrorists that the likelihood of an attack is very low in most parts of the world is unlikely to allay their fears. As a corollary, explaining to someone that they should be concerned about threats that do not elicit an affective charge is equally unlikely to modify their response to that potentiality. Our affective responses do not derive from rational faculties; rather, our affective capacities organise, reconstitute or ignore the rational assurances that stem from statistical probabilities. Our conscious selves must make sense of our affective selves, already in motion. An affective response to a risk cannot be easily expelled or assuaged through rational persuasion. Becoming aware of the statistical improbability of a shark attack is unlikely to entice a wary beachgoer who has just watched Jaws into the ocean. The power of affect to shape our behaviour and its resistance to intellectual interrogation can help inform our understanding of police policy. Small statistical changes in rates of probabilities or risk of harm in a stop are unlikely to rework the affective self. Thus, the laudable statistical objectives of police departments, public health organisations and city administrations are important, but we must also recognise their insufficiency for modifying behaviour in many cases. Attending to the affective self – as some social scientists are increasingly doing – may provide a crucial complement to statistically driven strategies.

D. The Problem of Potentiality As described above, the virtual is always constituting and reworking the actual in ways that are difficult to sense or define. Although the actual is a product of the virtual, the realm of differentiation can actualise in a wide variety of ways. For instance, the potentiality of an event actualising influences the world of extensity whether the event transpires or not. Actuality alone cannot adequately or comprehensively characterise experience. It is at least in part the potential that modifies our behaviour, and because our grasp of potentiality is affectively constituted rather than consciously evaluated, it is difficult to account for the myriad ways virtuality is extruding actuality. Each object of an Idea that has yet to be actualised remains a potentiality, and that potentiality cannot be accessed directly (Deleuze 1994: 169). Whether it actualises or not, the potentiality is real and has an impact. Social scientists’ focus on the world that is actualised rather than the potentiality that precedes this actualisation thus fails to account for the real effect of potentiality. Metrics measure whether an event occurred or not–two (or more) possibilities determined by probability. But the potentiality of something happening is not tantamount to two worlds: a world in which an event transpires and a world in which it does not. Potentiality is more than and different from either of these possible worlds. The possibility of something happening is not the same as the potentiality of something happening, for Deleuze. The possibility of something happening is derived only from an actualised realm of representation rather than the realm of virtuality: ‘The virtuality of the Idea has nothing to do with possibility’ (Deleuze 1994: 191). It is the virtual rather than the possible that is real, Deleuze argues, because the virtual is the genetic principle for the process of becoming that we encounter in actualisation. Thus, Deleuze writes that ‘[t]he possible is opposed to the real’ (Deleuze 1994: 211). In contrast with possibility, potentiality involves intensive anticipation that has real effects regardless of whether the event comes to pass. If a methodology relies on a model of empirics that is constituted by the actualised alone, something critical is left out. It is thus possible for the scientist to study the impact of police encounters on a population; it is possible to study the frequency and likelihood of those types of stops on a population; it is even possible to study how that probability impacts populations without any direct encounters with the police. But it is difficult for social science to uncover how a potential encounter has an actual impact on populations across space and time.

Politics

There’s no space for activism in the status quo. State based modes of repression capture all resistance. Our militant research approach is the only way for politics to become possible again.


Svirsky 10. Marcelo Svirsky, professor of critical and cultural theory at Cardiff University (UK), “Introduction: Beyond the Royal Science of Politics,” Deleuze Studies Vol 4: 2010, pg. 2

As Deleuze and Guattari have explained, this characteristic ‘royal’ science of politics ‘continually appropriates the contents of vague or nomad science’–those forms of political investigation looking ‘to understand both the repression it encounters and the interaction ‘ “containing” it’ (Deleuze and Guattari 1987: 367–8). One major task of new activist war machines is, then, to escape entrapment within the black hole of the majoritarian discourse on civil society, captured and defined by pervasive notions of ‘representative participation. Although the ‘NGOisation’ of the public sphere since the 1980s (see Yacobi 2007), together with other forms of political proliferation, have broadened the visible political field, the potential of non-institutional forms of action has been weakened ideologically by a whole state apparatus comprised of research centres and budgets, instrumental teaching, and a parliamentary politics that has incorporated the discourse of civil society – all of which have effected a sectorisation of society and political life. The epistemological aspirations of the three ‘ideal circles’ (Deleuze and Guattari 1987: 367) of the state, economy and civil society are commonly used to categorise political eruptions as forms of participation in the official, representative state politics. It is in this light that we must interpret the failure of academia to come to terms with the division of labour lately being imposed by the transversal relations between intellectual investigation and political situatedness embodied in militant research. As Deleuze and Guattari suggest, ‘we know of the problems States have always had with journey-men’s associations or compagnonnages, the nomadic or itinerant bodies . . . ’ (368).

It is clear that a Jamesonian ‘strategy of containment’ is at work in the narrative tradition of royal political science. It is in the notion of ‘representative participation’ that a function of formal unity or a strategy of containment has been founded, which, as Jameson puts it, ‘allows what can be thought to seem internally coherent in its own terms, while repressing the unthinkable . . . which lies beyond its boundaries’ (Jameson 1981: 38). By tying official politics together with every form of political participation it can ensnare, what royal political science does is ‘radically impoverish . . . the data of one narrative line’ – namely, that of the new activisms–‘by their rewriting according to the paradigm of another narrative...’–namely, that of representative participatory politics (Jameson 1981: 22). The subversive power of political potentia is thus contained by this reductive strategy; civil society becomes the main territory of this imprisonment, assisted by a false equation of official participation with challenging politics.



Traditional modes of politics must be replaced with joyous micropolitical problematics.


Eloff 15. Aragorn Eloff, nomad in South Africa, “Children of the New Earth – Deleuze, Guattari, and Anarchism,” July 31, 2015, http://meme.co.za/?p=152
Instead of programs for political action, let’s produce shared problematics. How do we describe where we find ourselves? How did we get here? What are the intensive flows and processes underlying the world as it is presented to us? What diagrams is all this the effectuation of? Can we, via a practice of vice-diction, create new diagrams? We will always get the solutions we deserve as a consequence of how we pose and incarnate these problems.

Organisation is crucial, but let us not forget that for all their differences of instantiation, any group can lapse into a mode of organisation that repeats the form of the Party and hardens into a new dogma defined by unquestioning loyalty, ascetism and the crushing or recuperation of desire turned against itself. We need “new micropolitical and microsocial practices, new solidarities, a new gentleness, together with new aesthetic and new analytic practices. This is not about creating agreement, because the more we disagree “the more we create a field of vitality.”



Again, we should be wary of the subjugated groups and their repressed desires, the groupuscules and their channelling of libidinal investments into hierarchies, reform and inertia. What is the viscosity and consistency of our group forms? How do we come together? What flows between us? What are our fluid dynamics? How quickly do we congeal or dissipate?

Attentiveness to the new is crucial: the world now is not the world then and we are not who we were. The new fascism – the Urstaat awakened and given new strength by capitalism – produces a peace more terrifying than war and if we are not careful then “all our petty fears will be organized in concert, all our petty anxieties will be harnessed to make micro-fascists of us; we will be called upon to stifle every little thing, every suspicious face, every dissonant voice, in our streets.” This does not mean that we cannot, however, also act against our time in favour of a time to come.

Engagements on the level of discourse are important but limited. Control functions just as much through machinic enslavement of the body – affects, percepts, imaginations, desires, calories, flows of water and electricity – as it does through the social subjection that produces, through the signifying systems that increasingly fill every corner of the world, alienation and ideological hegemonies. The new signifying systems also operate in a double movement, whereby they open up the flows of information whilst simultaneously closing down collective enunciative capacity.

Ressentiment – revenge, resentment and reaction – impedes all revolutionary becoming and will only lead to further oppression, of each other and of ourselves. Do not trust those who spread ressentiment and call for the settling of accounts; they seek only slaves as allies and always reproduce what they aim to destroy. “To have ressentiment or not to have ressentiment – there is no greater difference, beyond psychology, beyond history, beyond metaphysics. It is the true difference or transcendental typology – the genealogical and hierarchical difference.”

This is especially true of identity politics. If we remained trapped in a Hegelian spirit of revenge then our victories will always be written into the world as victories as slaves. Identity, even intersectional identity, reifies molar categories in its production of axes of differentiation. Instead of categories that always repeat the Same through false appeals to identity, analogy, resemblance and opposition, we would do better to think of our multiple and alway-shifting overlappings as events and encounters, not as perennial attributes of interpellated subjects. If we’re seeking to hold on to established identities, then what are we resisting? Our own transformation through association with other bodies? Our capacity to expand joy? Is it not precisely the blockage of desiring-production within sedimented identities that has resulted – and continues to result – in relations of hierarchy and domination? Besides, “the forces of repression need always an ascribable self and specifiable individuals to apply. When we become a little liquid, when we evade the ascription of the self” then perhaps we have a chance. Let us then become liquid; let us fold and unfold and refold in the practice of what Edouard Glissant calls ‘relation-identity’. This way we can also begin to discover our “rigid segments,” our “binary and overcoding machines,” and that “we are not simply divided up by binary machines of class, sex, or age” but that there are “others which we constantly shift [and] invent without realizing it.” Our true names are not “pure” but instead “bastard, lower, anarchical, nomadic, and irremediably minor.”

At the same time, struggle on the level of axioms is not unimportant. The fight for reforms – for service delivery, for jobs, for recognition, for a voice – can aid in minority becomings. However, struggles on this level only facilitate such becomings and are not always necessary. These molar politics are “the index of another coexistent combat,” a micropolitics. At the very least, we must be done with the hegemony of hegemony. Our “revolutionary organization must be that of the war machine.” We seek a nomadic revolutionary science, not a Royal science of teleologies and base-superstructures and counter-hegemonies and determinations in the last instance. We are multiple, heterogeneous. There are always an infinity of peoples.



We must commit altrucide and suicide. For as long as we remain trapped in the infinite demand of the Other, as long as our focus is on trauma, infinite justice, impossible horizons and melancholia, we are separated from our capacity to act by a reimposed transcendent dialectics of absolute responsibility. Instead, imbrication in movement, reciprocal feedback loops, mutual enfoldings of affect and expression, exchange and becoming-other-together.

They overdetermine what activist politics look like. Their claim that our argument could be refined to be more overtly political is a smokescreen for mass conformity that contributes to fascism.


Svirsky 10. Marcelo Svirsky, professor of critical and cultural theory at Cardiff University (UK), “Introduction: Beyond the Royal Science of Politics,” Deleuze Studies Vol 4: 2010, pg. 3

Rather than problematising the political, this royal understanding of activism uses its ‘metric power’ to axiomatise politics, while simultaneously repressing activist experiences that refuse simply to align with ‘the given’ of formal politics. An example of this can be seen in the hostility of western states towards organisations such as ‘Wikileaks’ or the ‘Animal rights movement’, each of which are immersed in creative acts of citizenship that actualise ruptures. Such new scenes and acts are constantly at risk of being appropriated by this royal science of politics, which imposes upon them a model that channels civic participation according to established rules and concepts. Activisms that seek only to guarantee the workings of representative democracy are essentially slave activisms; they dwell in safety and their impact and potential is expected to be absorbed without drawing the system into new structures of resonance.



The assumption that ‘mass participation is the lifeblood of representative democracy’ not only imposes a particular model of the political, it also reinforces a pejorative way to conceive activism. By positing representative democracy (or any other regime) as the reified model of political process, theory necessarily idealises certain forms of involvement over others. For example, classical participatory theory is often blind to [unable to comprehend] the creative significance of the activist energies being unfolded in such events as critical teaching in schools, revolutionary philosophical writing, the deconstructive effect of a critical assemblage that confronts patriarchal power, or of civic homosexuality which disrupts heterosexism. In fact, the assumptions underlying ‘representative’ participation are troublesome for at least two reasons. Firstly, participation in the formal political process of ‘representative democracy’ does not in itself necessarily implicate a critical attitude or action, seeking a less repressive and more creative life. To evidence this, it is enough to keep in mind some fearful recent examples of mass political support for ‘representative’ state violence, as occurred last May when thousands of Israelis marched in Tel Aviv and the streets of Jerusalem to back the killing by the Israeli Defence Forces of nine activists from the Turkish Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief, as they boarded the Mavi Marmara ship sailing to Gaza as part of a humanitarian flotilla. Similarly, we might remain mindful of other, no less electrifying, cases of popular support for wars and genocides in South America, Asia, Eastern Europe and Africa, or of events such as the Holocaust. In these instances, mass participation more accurately falls within the Reichian analysis of a popular ‘desire for fascism’–which lies worlds away from a participatory liberalism that idealises the commitment of the public to activist citizenship (see Isin 2009) and to the tolerant ‘good life’ that western democracy claims to represent. Secondly, passivity is not necessarily a sign of political anaemia, but may be a cultural expression that requires local explanation. Here, research at times confuses the visible with the political: absence of visible mass participation might be a sign of unconscious and pre-conscious compliance with ongoing forms of oppression, and can impact more energetically on the perpetuation of a regime than can tangible acts of the bodythese modes of active abandonment produce the reign of daily microfascisms.

After Deleuze and Guattari, political activism may be approached in a fundamentally different way: without an image, without a form. As Deleuze and Guattari make clear, the interaction between royal and nomad science produces a ‘constantly shifting borderline’, meaning that there is always some element that escapes containment by the ‘iron collars’ of representation (Deleuze and Guattari 1987: 367; see also Deleuze 1994). This occurs when the plane of consistency is passionately thrown against the plane of organisation, when a nomad element inserts itself in political struggles in which, for instance, the boundaries of citizenship are challenged and reopened (as occurred in the struggle associated with the sans-papiers movement, see Isin 2009), or barriers of ethnic segregation are challenged by new forms of interculturalism (as occurs with bilingual forms of education). It is through these ‘smallest deviations’ that smooth types of political activity dwell within the striated forms of state politics (Deleuze and Guattari 1987: 371). Deleuze’s and Deleuze and Guattari’s political philosophies have created some of the conceptual tools which may be put to innovative use in activism that seeks to break with repressive traditions. Their alien relation to the standards set by the royal science of politics (see Patton 2000) – an alienation laid out in the philosophical resources they draw on, in the issues and concepts that characterise their work and, principally, in the incessant movement of their thought – points towards a richer philosophical weaponry with which to confront and possibly overcome political inhibitions, in both knowledge and practice.





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