…it must be cried out, at a time when some have the audacity
to neo-evangelize in the name of the ideal of a liberal democ-
racy that has finally realized itself as the ideal of human history:
never have violence, inequality, exclusion, famine, and thus eco-
nomic oppression affected as many human beings in the history
of the earth and of humanity. Instead of singing the advent of
the ideal of liberal democracy and the capitalist market in the
euphoria of the end of history; instead of celebrating the ‘end of
ideologies’ and the end of the great emancipatory discourses, let
us never neglect this evident macroscopic fact, made up of innu-
merable singular sites of suffering: no degree of progress allows
one to ignore that never before, in absolute figures, never have
so many men, women, and children been subjugated, starved,
or exterminated on the earth.
– Jacques Derrida in Spectres of Marx
The political (read: economic) bankruptcy (read: extra-economic) of the Left has made a necessity of virtuousness (read: morality). What used to be the Moral Right (and under Reagan the Moral Majority) has been displaced by the Moral Left: this is everything from LBGT to the Green rights of environmentalists and… exactly where its hem begins to fray is the bruited-about Crisis of Value, in other words Crisis of Middle-Class Values. The rights of the family are of course complicated by families of nonhetero albeit heterogeneous makeup. The rights to property are complicated by rights of access, for example, of copyright to knowledge: all coming under the swelling sphere of the commons.
The point here is: the Left used to be about policy, now it is about a moral stance; while the Right has policy like an iron bar that it cannot pass.
What is hateful in this and disastrous for an oppositional, not to say critical politic, is the caving of the notion of value itself, which is now tethered to the somewhat redundant operation of capital, where so many other options of funding are now so much more readily available and applicable, new venture capitalism and entrepeneurship having become a game for the very wealthy and the very stupid. The question as to whether these are mutually irreducible categories is overtaken by the political bankruptcy and unwillingness of the Left to enter discussions at an intellectual advantage–in case it is accused of Rightwing privilege.
Marx’s labour theory of value: there’s something strange about what Žižek calls Lain’s metaphor of the “good Christian boy” who wants to believe.
And there’s something strange about the circularity of Žižek’s argument, as a populist philosopher, about the horror of the Left’s reactiveness to the Right’s activation of erstwhile Leftist policy platforms for, exactly, their populism: Marine Le Pen’s stand on easier access to healthcare and greater support for pregnant mothers, for example. (But then these can be seen as what Michel Houellebecq calls “nativist” concerns (in Submission): encouraging the put-upon ‘ethnic French’ populace to up birthrates, live longer, than immigrant sectors.) Žižek is saying something when he reports the comment of a friend: now the Left moralise, where they used to politicise; and the Right politicise, where they used to moralise: immigration is a moral and humanitarian issue for the Left; it is a political opportunity that the Right exploits. … Žižek’s call for the self-criticism of ‘us’ “progressives”, what does it mean?
We should spend less time judging statements like his, that if he could have he would have voted for Trump? And more time doing what?
It might get close to Nietzsche’s critique of reactive politics and affirmation of active policy … but is stymied by Hegelian dialectic and Lacanian (inbuilt) negative disavowal, the double-negative logic of not not affirming.
What the Left could use is some Nietzsche. I used to think not, but Nietzsche’s excoriation of those who set their values on a continuum orientated towards the best cover up value judgements that are from the start moral interpretations, moralisations.
The Left’s looking for a better way than the Right is only to perform the Hegelian dialectic dance of if you go that way, than I’ll go this way.
Here’s the link to the interview. See what you think. LINK.
…as for the labour theory of value and Žižek’s call to “de-substantialise” it, isn’t this precisely what is assayed in Anti-Oedipus (along with a critique of Lacan) and A Thousand Plateaus by Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari?
“When I perform, I usually search for my inner silence. I balance the images passing through my mind and try that rhythm in action when I write about performance. However, after reading books on performance art by other authors, essays, and monographs on artists which are so dear to me and inspirational for my work, I feel that those words, photos and sketches accompany me in the experience of living in slow motion, while the world outside speeds without stopping. I see a page of a book as the access key to know more, in depth, and understand different things and perspectives – a place at the edge of the quotidian, right there to host me, when I am at a crucial point in my life, looking for that “which” to start again. I think it’s always wise to feel part of a place, a subject, a part of a present, which is already past but renewed when it is acknowledged. This is also such stuff as books are made on.”
– Andrea Pagnes, February 2017 (from Unbound Blog)
of the books she curates as guest editor for Unbound, she says:
“I challenged my vertigo with Stelarc and asked Bas Jan Ader if tears are miracles. I reinforced my sense of romance through Ron Athey and Franko B, and got that you can endure so much through Tehching Hsieh. I hybridised my idea of death with ORLAN and rebelled with Guillermo Gomez-Peña and Roberto Sifuentes, unmarked, accessing all areas, holding it against me. To perform is the art of living, for life is the art of the encounter.”
and here’s a link to a page that cites Teresita at length: click here
I am interested because I wrote this: “Improvement in technique comes rather with forgetting as an active power of letting go the past and remembering the future. The technique of forgetting technique as much as the technique of remembering the future can, paradoxically, be learnt: it may indeed be the sole presence of learning in the arts and its only knowledge.“
with Andrzej Wirth, Aleksandra Konieczna, Roma Gasiorowska, Tomasz Tyndyk, Agnieszka Podsiadlik, Robert Wilson, Rafal Mackowiak, René Pollesch, Jan Dravnel, Carol Washburn, Miho Takayasu, Richard Raack, Emma Lew Thomas, Helena Waldmann, Marianne Frisch,Hans-Thies Lehmann, Mandie O’Connell & Thomas Irmer