Thursday, August 24, 2006

The Success of Biopolitical Islam?

Epigraphs for a post to come:

Hizbollah has trumped both the UN army and the Lebanese government by pouring hundreds of millions of dollars - most of it almost certainly from Iran - into the wreckage of southern Lebanon and Beirut's destroyed southern suburbs. Its massive new reconstruction effort - free of charge to all those Lebanese whose homes were destroyed or damaged in Israel's ferocious five-week assault on the country - has won the loyalty of even the most disaffected members of the Shia community in Lebanon. ... But for now - and in the total absence of the 8,000-strong foreign military force that is intended to join Unifil with a supposedly "robust" mandate - Hizbollah has already won the war for "hearts and minds". Most householders in the south have received - or are receiving - a minimum initial compensation payment of $12,000 (£6,300), either for new furniture or to cover their family's rent while Hizbollah construction gangs rebuild their homes. The money is being paid in cash - almost all in crisp new $100 bills - to up to 15,000 families across Lebanon whose property was blitzed by the Israelis, a bill of $180m which is going to rise far higher when reconstruction and other compensation is paid.
- Robert Fisk

As guerrilla warfare increasingly adopted the characteristics of biopolitical production and spread throughout the entire fabric of society, it more directly posed as its goal the production of subjectivity - economic and cultural subjectivity, both material and immaterial. It was not just a matter of "winning hearts and minds," in other words, but rather of creating new hearts and minds through the construction of new circuits of communication, new forms of social collaboration, and new modes of interaction. In this process we can discern a tendency toward moving beyond the modern guerrilla model toward more democratic network forms of organization.
- Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Empire

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Sense Certainty and Terror

VYSHINSKY: Accused Bukharin, were you with Khodjayev at his country place?

Bukharin: I was.

VYSHINSKY: Did you carry on a conversation?

Bukharin: I carried on a conversation and kept my head on my shoulders all the time, but it does not follow from this that I dealt with the things of which Khodjayev just spoke; this was the first conversation...

VYSHINSKY: It is of no consequence whether it was the first or not the first. Do you confirm that there was such a conversation?

Bukharin: Not such a conversation, but a different one, and also secret.

VYSHINSKY: I am not asking you about conversations in general, but about this conversation.

Bukharin: In Hegel's Logic the word "this" is considered to be the most difficult word....

VYSHINSKY: I ask the Court to explain to the accused Bukharin that he is here not in the capacity of a philosopher, but a criminal, and he would do better to refrain from talking here about Hegel's philosophy, it would be better first of all for Hegel's philosophy....

Bukharin: A philosopher may be a criminal.

VYSHINSKY: Yes, that is to say, those who imagine themselves to be philosophers turn out to be spies. Philosophy is out of place here. I am asking you about that conversation of which Khodjayev just spoke; do you confirm it or do you deny it?

Bukharin: I do not understand the word "that." We had a conversation at the country house.

(As quoted and discussed in Alain Badiou, Théorie du sujet, pp. 329-30.)