Wednesday, November 30, 2005


The three inter-linked essays below - the last of which is a text from the recent conference "Is a Politics of Truth Still Thinkable?" - are the first drafts of a bicephalous project on (1.) the political and religious genealogy of fanaticism, as both concept and accusation, and (2.) the recomposition of a communist politics. Conjectures and refutations, in the words of a nemesis, are welcome. Further drafts, entropy allowing, will follow, together with tangential notes and reflections.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

ciao compagno,
I'm excited to read all this, not least because I've been thinking about similar pre-occupations (prompted mainly by the novel Q, to be honest). I just carried home a back-achingly heavy stack of Thomas Muntzer related material from the library earlier this week.
Thanks for posting all this. I'll print these out and read them over the weekend, and will comment if I have anything beyond simple accolades.
un abraccio,

6:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very interesting papers indeed! Considering today’s resurgence of religious language both within the right and the left (alas, even the idea of secularism is nowadays used as a kind of theological and/or transcendental ideal – and I am not referring to groups such as the OWFI; but to an ideological used of ideas such as ‘secularism’, ‘democratic rights’ etc (both within the ‘left’ (see the Blair’s gov.; Lutte Kandace in France etc) and the right (Bush’s administration; Chirac etc) in order to impose one’s own in reality not so democratic principles (attested by the abundant use of exceptional legislations and practices) on others), I think that a critical and sober investigation of the role of theology in political theory is very much needed.
My (un-sophisticated) point, however, is not about religion but it is in relation to Lukacs’ critique of Bloch’s Müntzer as ‘a revolutionary utopianism’, which according to him, ‘depends on the idea that an unblemished internal life could be awakened independently of man’s concrete historical life, that we could simply organise the exodus from the apparatuses of production and reproduction impinging on the realisation of a non-dominated human essence’.
In your paper you argued that incidentally the same critique has been leveled against Negri, although, unf., you do not develop the point further.
Specifically, you say that what Lukas criticizes is that the idea of ‘a transcendental philosophy of history does indeed correspond to the basic ideological structure of capitalism’ (p. 192). The target of Lukacs polemic is thus the ‘irreducible quality and `ansynthesized amalgam of the empirical and the utopian’ that he finds obscured by the elemental vigour of Müntzer.
This can be seen in Hardt and Negri’s Empire!, at leas to a certain extent.
Moreover, their idea of ‘the multitude’ can and has been accused for being a-historical and transcendental because based on a too positive conception of power as constituent power (see Zizek, Badiou Agamben) - But this, I think, is because similarly to Marx and in line with the basic tenets of ‘autonomia operaia’, Negri wants to position the multitude and not Capitalism as the main motor of transformation of society …As you suggest (in line with Badiou’s earlier work), ‘without the historical a priori of the proletariat and its logical power’ it is difficult to see how ‘the eternity of communism can be translated into the reality of communism; how it can be fully subjectivated’.
‘Does this mean that we remain in the inevitably ideological grip of masks and displacements, inasmuch as the communist invariants are always included within a particular ideological conjuncture (that of the inevitability of communism (?) – of its failure (?)-) and can never find their ‘proper’ expression?’
I am not sure…
I’ve just had a discussion with a friend of mine about Tronti’s notion of ‘elitist multitude’ (see Tronti in Tari`, 2006) and the problems that this idea entails, or better, that it may end up producing - namely, that for whatever reasons the elite’s interests and objectives STOP being those of the social body that originate them in the first place - (the problem being here not necessarily that of ‘switching to the register of totalitarian, normative politics’ (in Bavo), but that of ‘fidelity’: fidelity to ‘the common’) …and the extent to which an horizontal and traversal form of organisation such as that of ‘the anti-globalisation’ (anti-capitalism) movement is better equipped to respond to these types of problems.
But what about translating the eternity of communism into reality? In other words, does the anti-globalisation movement live up to this ‘ideal’?
Again, I am not sure! Unf., the anti-globalisation movement (but see also the anti-war mov.) seem to remain within the realm of the spectacle rather than producing real and concrete changes…and ultimately, any political practice must confront its expectations and desires with reality and be based on it (reality). Cooperation may be posed ‘prior to the capitalist machine, as a condition independent of industry’ (quoted in Negri); to assume the opposite would be to give capitalism a role that it does not deserve. Yet, in line with Marx, I tend to be a realist (materialist), not an idealist! Cooperation alone may not be sufficient…And I agree that ‘It is only by thinking the determinate subtraction, through organization, from mastery that one can actively think a way out of the moral blackmail of the ‘lesser evil’. But what does this mean concretely?
‘What is a subtraction from the material and discursive reality of late capitalism, which wouldn’t simply amount to a symptom? In conditions of late capitalism ‘wherein all processes of labour and production take place within the ambit of capitalist relations (real subsumption), does Negri’s claim that ‘communism is the radical inversion of capitalim’ (modified) suffice to the tasks ahead?
And is ‘a new thinking of organisation’ going ‘to shed light on the practical and practical-historical shortcomings and theoretical potential of autonomism’?
I think that in theory ‘a new thinking of organisation’ has just such a potential and I look forward to read more on this!!
But I also think that people that are oppressed, alienated, excluded cannot always afford to wait and that sometimes it may be necessary to use strategically what in fact are available instruments (e.g. the discourse of rights – the category ‘women’) even if these ARE deeply implicated with what ‘we’ wish to oppose (capitalism, patriarchalism, racism…all forms of oppression, I hope…)
After all, the constitution of political subjectivity, and especially of a communist politics, cannot transcend men and women’s real contingent situation …nor their concrete possibilities in the present…
With admiration,
A friend

11:40 AM  

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