The 1ac is a fetish of so-called ‘successful’ movements of the past. Their attempt at academic change



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The 1AC is a fetish of so-called ‘successful’ movements of the past. Their attempt at academic change sustains the power’s ability to constrain dissent and suppress the victims of power into a ghostly remnant. The proposition that a ballot in this debate round can actually change anything ignores the coordinates of power and knowledge at play in academia – the only thing they do is feed more ammo to the machine


Occupied UC Berkeley 09, 11/19/09, (“The Necrosocial: Civic Life, Social Death, and the UC”, http://anticapitalprojects.wordpress.com/2009/11/19/the-necrosocial/, AW)

--- We don’t endorse the language in this card ---

Yes, very much a cemetery. Only here there are no dirges, no prayers, only the repeated testing of our threshold for anxiety, humiliation, and debt. The classroom just like the workplace just like the university just like the state just like the economy manages our social death, translating what we once knew from high school, from work, from our family life into academic parlance, into acceptable forms of social conflict.

Who knew that behind so much civic life (electoral campaigns, student body representatives, bureaucratic administrators, public relations officials, Peace and Conflict Studies, ad nauseam) was so much social death? What postures we maintain to claim representation, what limits we assume, what desires we dismiss?

And in this moment of crisis they ask us to twist ourselves in a way that they can hear. Petitions to Sacramento, phone calls to Congressmen—even the chancellor patronizingly congratulates our September 24th student strike, shaping the meaning and the force of the movement as a movement against the policies of Sacramento. He expands his institutional authority to encompass the movement. When students begin to hold libraries over night, beginning to take our first baby step as an autonomous movement he reins us in by serendipitously announcing library money. He manages movement, he kills movement by funneling it into the electoral process. He manages our social death. He looks forward to these battles on his terrain, to eulogize a proposition, to win this or that—he and his look forward to exhausting us.

He and his look forward to a reproduction of the logic of representative governance, the release valve of the university plunges us into an abyss where ideas are wisps of ether—that is, meaning is ripped from action. Let’s talk about the fight endlessly, but always only in their managed form: to perpetually deliberate, the endless fleshing-out-of—when we push the boundaries of this form they are quick to reconfigure themselves to contain us: the chancellor’s congratulations, the reopening of the libraries, the managed general assembly—there is no fight against the administration here, only its own extension.



Each day passes in this way, the administration on the look out to shape student discourseit happens without pause, we don’t notice nor do we care to. It becomes banal, thoughtless. So much so that we see we are accumulating days: one semester, two, how close to being this or that, how far? This accumulation is our shared history. This accumulation—every once in a while interrupted, violated by a riot, a wild protest, unforgettable fucking, the overwhelming joy of love, life shattering heartbreak—is a muted, but desirous life. A dead but restless and desirous life.

The university steals and homogenizes our time yes, our bank accounts also, but it also steals and homogenizes meaning. As much as capital is invested in building a killing apparatus abroad, an incarceration apparatus in California, it is equally invested here in an apparatus for managing social death. Social death is, of course, simply the power source, the generator, of civic life with its talk of reform, responsibility, unity. A ‘life,’ then, which serves merely as the public relations mechanism for death: its garrulous slogans of freedom and democracy designed to obscure the shit and decay in which our feet are planted. Yes, the university is a graveyard, but it is also a factory: a factory of meaning which produces civic life and at the same time produces social death. A factory which produces the illusion that meaning and reality can be separated; which everywhere reproduces the empty reactionary behavior of students based on the values of life (identity), liberty (electoral politics), and happiness (private property). Everywhere the same whimsical ideas of the future. Everywhere democracy. Everywhere discourse to shape our desires and distress in a way acceptable to the electoral state, discourse designed to make our very moments here together into a set of legible and fruitless demands.

Totally managed death. A machine for administering death, for the proliferation of technologies of death. As elsewhere, things rule. Dead objects rule. In this sense, it matters little what face one puts on the university—whether Yudof or some other lackey. These are merely the personifications of the rule of the dead, the pools of investments, the buildings, the flows of materials into and out of the physical space of the university—each one the product of some exploitation—which seek to absorb more of our work, more tuition, more energy. The university is a machine which wants to grow, to accumulate, to expand, to absorb more and more of the living into its peculiar and perverse machinery: high-tech research centers, new stadiums and office complexes. And at this critical juncture the only way it can continue to grow is by more intense exploitation, higher tuition, austerity measures for the departments that fail to pass the test of ‘relevancy.’



But the ‘irrelevant’ departments also have their place. With their ‘pure’ motives of knowledge for its own sake, they perpetuate the blind inertia of meaning ostensibly detached from its social context. As the university cultivates its cozy relationship with capital, war and power, these discourses and research programs play their own role, co-opting and containing radical potential. And so we attend lecture after lecture about how ‘discourse’ produces ‘subjects,’ ignoring the most obvious fact that we ourselves are produced by this discourse about discourse which leaves us believing that it is only words which matter, words about words which matter. The university gladly permits the precautionary lectures on biopower; on the production of race and gender; on the reification and the fetishization of commodities. A taste of the poison serves well to inoculate us against any confrontational radicalism. And all the while power weaves the invisible nets which contain and neutralize all thought and action, that bind revolution inside books, lecture halls.

There is no need to speak truth to power when power already speaks the truth. The university is a graveyard– así es. The graveyard of liberal good intentions, of meritocracy, opportunity, equality, democracy. Here the tradition of all dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brain of the living. We graft our flesh, our labor, our debt to the skeletons of this or that social cliché. In seminars and lectures and essays, we pay tribute to the university’s ghosts, the ghosts of all those it has excluded—the immiserated, the incarcerated, the just-plain-fucked. They are summoned forth and banished by a few well-meaning phrases and research programs, given their book titles, their citations. This is our gothic—we are so morbidly aware, we are so practiced at stomaching horror that the horror is thoughtless.

In this graveyard our actions will never touch, will never become the conduits of a movement, if we remain permanently barricaded within prescribed identity categories—our force will be dependent on the limited spaces of recognition built between us. Here we are at odds with one another socially, each of us: students, faculty, staff, homebums, activists, police, chancellors, administrators, bureaucrats, investors, politicians, faculty/ staff/ homebums/ activists/ police/ chancellors/ administrators/ bureaucrats/ investors/ politicians-to-be. That is, we are students, or students of color, or queer students of color, or faculty, or Philosophy Faculty, or Gender and Women Studies faculty, or we are custodians, or we are shift leaders—each with our own office, place, time, and given meaning. We form teams, clubs, fraternities, majors, departments, schools, unions, ideologies, identities, and subcultures—and thankfully each group gets its own designated burial plot. Who doesn’t participate in this graveyard?

In the university we prostrate ourselves before a value of separation, which in reality translates to a value of domination. We spend money and energy trying to convince ourselves we’re brighter than everyone else. Somehow, we think, we possess some trait that means we deserve more than everyone else. We have measured ourselves and we have measured others. It should never feel terrible ordering others around, right? It should never feel terrible to diagnose people as an expert, manage them as a bureaucrat, test them as a professor, extract value from their capital as a businessman. It should feel good, gratifying, completing. It is our private wet dream for the future; everywhere, in everyone this same dream of domination. After all, we are intelligent, studious, young. We worked hard to be here, we deserve this.

We are convinced, owned, broken. We know their values better than they do: life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness. This triumvirate of sacred values are ours of course, and in this moment of practiced theater—the fight between the university and its own students—we have used their words on their stages: Save public education!

When those values are violated by the very institutions which are created to protect them, the veneer fades, the tired set collapses: and we call it injustice, we get indignant. We demand justice from them, for them to adhere to their values. What many have learned again and again is that these institutions don’t care for those values, not at all, not for all. And we are only beginning to understand that those values are not even our own.

The values create popular images and ideals (healthcare, democracy, equality, happiness, individuality, pulling yourself up by your bootstraps, public education) while they mean in practice the selling of commodified identities, the state’s monopoly on violence, the expansion of markets and capital accumulation, the rule of property, the rule of exclusions based on race, gender, class, and domination and humiliation in general. They sell the practice through the image. We’re taught we’ll live the images once we accept the practice.

In this crisis the Chancellors and Presidents, the Regents and the British Petroleums, the politicians and the managers, they all intend to be true to their values and capitalize on the university economically and socially—which is to say, nothing has changed, it is only an escalation, a provocation. Their most recent attempt to reorganize wealth and capital is called a crisis so that we are more willing to accept their new terms as well as what was always dead in the university, to see just how dead we are willing to play, how non-existent, how compliant, how desirous.


Their “try or die” framing re-inscribes the status quo’s limited scope of politics by maintaining the duality of forced choices as EITHER the aff OR the status quo – Refuse the choices as offered, demand a third option – embrace an imperceptible politics of the present


Stephenson et al 8, Dimitris Papadopoulos, PhD in Social Sciences from the Free University of Berlin, Niamh Stephenson, Senior Lecturer in Social Science the School of Public Health and Community Medicine, Vassils Tsianos, PhD Sociology Department of Social Sciences from the University of Hamburg, 2008, (“Escape Routes Control and Subversion in the Twenty-first Century”, http://www.elimeyerhoff.com/books/Escape_routes.pdf, AW)

Imperceptible politics is driven by imagination and fictionalitythe imagination required to address an absence, as Santos (2003) describes it. As discussed above, representation diminishes the senses. Not only does representation dictate the terms of inclusion in political disputes of a certain field, it blunts our capacities even to perceive the multiple realities of bodies, people, desires – inappropriate/d forms of life (Trinh T. Minh-ha, 1987). These inappropriate/d modes of existence, this excess of social relations, remain after the existing regime of control has dissected and transformed subjectivities into controllable objects of discourse: bodies become identities, people become demos, desires become demands. Imperceptible politics starts from this excess of inappropriate/d modes of existence which from the perspective of the regime of control constitutes a void (Badiou, 2005a), a void residing in the political system of representation. As Badiou (2001, p. 68) says about the void, it is the very heart of a particular situation around which ‘the plenitude’ of social and material relations making up this specific situation is organised. This plenitude is mirrored, managed and regulated through procedures of representation (it is policed, as we said with Rancière in the previous chapter). Consider, for example, the surveillance and control of highly patrolled passages of migrational flows through the porous borders of Global North Atlantic countries. There is a plenitude of laws, practices, institutions, customs, migration police and border patrols, rituals, detention centres, informal migrant networks, knowledges, life projects and much more, which makes up this situation. This abundance is structured around an absence: the embodied and unrep- resentable desire which people follow as they cross borders despite the regime of control which tries to close them off or to constrain and control them. When they enter into the language of the plenitude, these people are called illegal migrants. They are treated as a problem, an economic, social or humanitarian problem, which has to be solved through deportation, revisiting legislation or negotiations with other states. What is absent is their actual movement, what people become as they navigate the fissures of nation states and borders. The absences of the inappropriate/d migrants and their desire constitute a void, a void around which this situation is organised. When all these inappropriate/d modes of existence beyond identity and passports become represented, it is only to be measured, policed, and finally, controlled. But they do not always become represented: when the void becomes an action, it does so as a force which challenges the existing organisation of plenitude in a certain field. Because it cannot be accommodated in the current situation within existing conditions of control, it is a constituent force pushing for a radical change. The imperceptible politics emanating from the void cannot be ignored. The millions of inappropriate/d bodies render borders permeable de facto, throw the current regime of control into disarray, force sovereignty to reassemble itself – everyday imperceptible politics becomes escape from a regime of control. Imperceptible politics is the moment when the void of mobility (or labour or life, as we show in the next sections) becomes subversive. Some may want to use the word resistance instead. But here we understand subversion (or resistance if you prefer) in a positive way: as the desire to depart from the plenitude which organises control in a certain field. Or better, as the trust in something which is absent and unrepresentable, and yet operative and constitutive of a specific field. This desire comes from the very heart of the situation, but leads directly and unconditionally beyond it. Desire. Trust. Escape! This is the only understanding of resistance which is relevant for imperceptible politics, and it is indeed the only understanding of resistance which escapes the melancholic uptake of Foucault’s work in neoliberal times. This is the reason why we prefer to talk of subversion instead of resistance in this book. Drawing on Johannes Agnoli’s (1996) intriguing exploration of the historical metamorphoses of this concept, we understand subversion as the process of reclaiming a form of praxis which is there but is forgotten, suppressed and rendered seemingly absent. It is an act which cannot be understood as critique, or as a form of dialectical negation of negation, or even resistance but it stands there as ‘negation sans phrase’ (Agnoli, 1996, p. 16), that is conceptual and theoretical work which obtains its efficacy only through ‘laborious mole-work’ (Agnoli, 1996, p. 226). Subversion is that which is banished and eradicated through political representation, yet never completely. As an act of reclaiming, the subversion entailed in imperceptible politics is located in the everyday and precedes and prepares the practice of escape itself. Subversion remains imperceptible to the representational policing of a field and works with an excess of social relations which spring from the ‘absent centre’ of this particular field. This is the fictional and imaginary character of imperceptible politics. It is only by conjuring up the speculative and fictional qualities (see previous chapter and Haraway, 1992, 2004) of a situation that it is possible to address something which is absent and yet there, something arising from the core of the situation but which is yet to emerge. Imperceptible politics is here, always present within a regime of control, cultivating trust in speculative figurations of a radically different future in the present. Imperceptible politics is here.

to tell me that my self reflective CHOICE to not perform a narrative of my personal experience is whiteness --- I didn’t want to be visible to avoid surveillance, voyeurism and attempts at imperial possession and incorporation.


Peggy PHELAN Chair NYU Performance Studies Dept. 93 [Unmarked p. 7-8]

The current contradiction between “identity politics” with its accent on visibility, and the psychoanalytic/ldeconstructionist mistrust (if visibility as she source of unity or wholeness needs to he refigured, if not resolved. As the left dedicates ever more energy to visibility politics, I am increasingly troubled by the forgetting of the problems of visibility so successfully articulated by feminist film theorists in I he 1970s and 1980s. I am not suggesting that continued invisibility is the “proper” political agenda for the disenfranchised, but. rather that. the binary between the power of visibility and the impotency of invisibility is falsifying. There is real power in remaining unmarked; and there are serious limitations to visual representation as a political goal. Visibility is a trap (“In this matter oft he visible, everything is a trap”: (Lacan Four Fundamental Concepts: 93); it summons surveillance and the law; it provokes voyeurism, fetishism, the colonialist/imperial appetite for possession. Yet it retains a certain political appeal. Visibility politics have practical consequences: a line can be drawn between a practice (getting someone seen or read) and a theory (if you are seen it. is harder for “them” to ignore you, to construct a punitive canon); the two can be reproductive. While there is a deeply ethical appeal in the desire for a more inclusive representational landscape and certainly under-represented communities can be empowered by an enhanced visibility, the terms of this visibility often enervate the putative power of these identities. A much more nuanced relationship to the power of visibility needs to be pursued than the Left currently engages.” Arguing that communities of the hitherto under-represented will be made stronger if representational economies reflect and see them, progressive cultural activists have staked a huge amount on increasing and expanding the visibility of racial, ethnic, and sexual “others.It is assumed that disenfranchised communities who see their members within the representational field will feel great or pride in being Part, of such a community and those who are not in such a community will increase their understanding of the diversity and strength of such communities. Implicit within this argument. are several presumptions which bear further scrutiny: 1) Identities are visibly marked so the resemblance between the African-American on the television and the African-American on the street helps the observer see they are members of the same community. Reading physical resemblance is a way of' identifying community. 2 The relationship between representation and idenity is linear and smoothly mimetic, What one sees is who one is. 3 If one's mimetic likeness is not represented. one is not addressed. 4. Increased visibility equals increased power. Each presumption reflects the ideology of the visible, an ideology which erases the power of the unmarked, unspoken, and unseen.


Narratives of suffering recreate violence


COLVIN 2006 (Chris Colvin, medical anthropologist and works as Senior Research Officer in Social Sciences and HIV/AIDS, TB and STIs with the Infectious Disease Epidemiology Unit in the School of Public Health and Family Medicine at the University of Cape Town, PhD Candidate at UVA dept of Anthro, Trafficking trauma: Intellectual property rights and the political economy of traumatic storytelling, SSN 0256 004 Online 1992-6049 pp. 171–182)

One effect of this market for narratives of suffering is that traumatic storytelling has become the major way in which many victims negotiate relationships with Christopher J. Colvin 176 others. Their position in a field of relations between the international community, their national government, civil society, the media and the academy increasingly depends on their ability to produce and circulate engaging stories of suffering and recovery. In the process, victims’ stories become commodified objects that move out into the wider world and structure an entire network of subjects, objects, meanings and relationships. Some other effects include 1 the regulation of the narrative content and structure of stories wherein what sells and what does not become part of shaping the stories people tell 2 the shortening of stories into easily consumable packages that fit within the lines of a membership form, pension application, television interview or case history 3 the evolution of the idea that victims have a single story, ‘my story,’ a unitary, bounded and unchanging narrative that incorporates all that is essential in the ‘story of a victim’ 4 an anxiety over alienation from their story, once commodified.






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