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Category Archives: marx

A Lacanian Ink Event – Jack Tilton Gallery – NYC, 10/15/2010
Introduction by Josefina Ayerza


Post-yapısalcılık adlı düşünce akımının son otuz yılda deforme olmakla kalmayıp özündeki ideoloji karşıtı duruşa son derece ters düşen bir şekilde yüceltilerek global kapitalizm dedikleri üretim ilişkileri biçiminin elinde şamar oğlanına döndürüldüğünü artık hepimiz biliyoruz. Ünlü Alman düşünürü Karl Marx’ın tarif ettiği biçimiyle kapitalizm, içinde bulunduğumuz şu günlerde çok daha vahşi bir hal almıştır ve karşıtlarını içinde barındırmakla yetinmez, bunları kendine hizmet edecek şekilde deforme edip anti-kapitalist güçleri etkisiz ötesi kılar. Bu durumu göz önünde bulundurduğumuzda, örneğin Gilles Deleuze ve Felix Guattari gibi aklı ve deliliğin anlamını sorgulamakla işe koyulmuş, akabinde geliştirdikleri bir atakla ise Freud’cu psikanalize ve Marxizm’in ortodoks kanadına Nietzsche vasıtasıyla karşı çıkarak materyalist bir psikiyatri ve ortotoks olmayan bir Marxizm yaratma çabalarının nasıl olup da global kapitalizm dedikleri üretim ilişkileri biçiminin boyunduruğu altına girerek global anormalleşmeye hizmet eder hale geldiğini idrak etmemiz kolaylaşır.

Post-yapısalcılık özünde yapısalcılık, Batımerkezci aklın egemenliği ve Aydınlanma akımına bir tepki olarak Fransa’da doğmuş ve bu akımların kalıpçı ve dogmatik yanlarını budamaya yönelik teorik yazılarla işe başlamıştır. Özellikle Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze, ve Jacques Derrida’nın birbiri ardına yayınladıkları kitaplarla Kuzey Amerika üzerinden tüm dünyaya yayılmış bir düşünme biçimidir post-yapısalcılık. Temelde durağanlık karşıtı ve sürekli değişim taraftarı olmasına karşın post-yapısalcılık Kuzey Amerika’lı akademisyenlerin öğrencilereine çarpıtarak aktarmakta tereddüt etmediği ve bunun neticesinde de çarpıtılmış, yani Amerikanlaştırılmış haliyle edebiyat ve sinema başta olmak üzere tüm kültürel üretim alanlarının egemen teroik temelini oluşturmuştur. Hollywood filmlerinin post-yapısalcılığı para getirecek şekilde deforme edip sömürerek kitlelere ulaştırması neticesinde ise bu akım bugün maalesef bir tepki olarak doğduğu kapitalist ve Batımerkezci düşünce kalıplarının oyuncağı olmuştur. Tabii benim bu yazıdaki amacım post-yapısalcılığı global kapitalistlerin elinden kurtarıp hakettiği yere yerleştirmek değil, bunun boş bir çaba olacağı kanaatindeyim. Heidegger’in de dediği gibi “korkunç olan şey çoktan gerçekleşti.” Benim bu yazıdaki amacım post-yapısalcılığın toptan reddedilecek bir düşünce biçimi olmadığını, bilâkis tıpkı Frankfurt Okulu Eleştirel Teori’sinden olduğu gibi ondan da öğrenilecek ve global kapitalizm destekli global anormalleşmeye karşı kullanılacak pek çok şey olduğunu gözler önüne sermektir. Düşünülüp yazılanları arka bahçeye gömüp unutmakla geleceği dünden ve bugünden daha iyi kılmanın mümkün olmadığı kanaatindeyim.

Post-yapısalcılık, yapısalcılık ve Aydınlanma projelerine bir alternatif üretmek maksadıyla ortaya çıkmış ve tek tip aklın egemenliğine karşı alt-kültürleri, delileri, anormalleri, dışlanmışları, sömürülüp bir kenara atılmışları öne çıkarmakla son derece yerinde bir çabanın ürünü olarak özellikle yetmişlerde ve seksenlerde dünyayı sarsmış olsa da, global kapitalizm marjinalliği ve anormalliği moda haline getirerek bu dışlanmış ve öteki diye tabir edilegelmiş grupları marjinalliklerinden ederek günün normu haline getirmiştir. Artık herkes anormaldir ve bununla gurur duyanların sayısı hiç de az değildir. Korku filmlerine baktığımız zaman psikopatların başından geçen ilginç olayları ve doğaüstü hadiseleri çarpıtarak aktarmak suretiyle milyonlarca dolar para kazanan yapımcı ve yönetmenlerin bolluğu göze çarpmakta, hatta gözleri yuvalarından etmektedir.

Post-yapısalcılığın statik ve normalleştirici düşünce kalıplarını yok ederek yerine akışkanlığı ve dinamizmi yerleştirme projesinin pratikte fiyaskoyla sonuçlanmış olduğu doğrudur. Bunun sebebi az önce de sözünü ettiğim gibi kapitalizmin yapısı gereği kendine karşı olan her fikri emip süzgeçtem geçirerek kendi lehine çevirmekte gösterdiği başarıdır.

Marx’ın kapitalizmin kendine karşı olan güçleri bünyesinde barındırdığını ta o zamandan söylemiş olduğunu zaten söylemiştim. Yinelemekte zarar yok, fayda var. İkinci Dünya Savaşı sırasında Nazi Almanyası’ndan kaçarak Amerika’ya sığınan Theodor Adorno, Max Horkheimer, ve Herbert Marcuse gibi düşünürler Marx’ın işte bu görüşüne Nietzsche’nin toplumsal, etik ve estetik değerlerin yok edilip yeniden yaratılması gerektiği görüşünü de ekleyerek günün koşullarına uyarlamış ve savaş bittikten sonra neşe içerisinde yenilmiş bir Almanya’ya dönerek Frankfurt Okulu’nu kurup bugün Eleştirel Teori diye bilinen yaklaşımın öncüleri olmuşlardır. Temelde kültür ve siyaseti birbirinden ayırmanın yanlış olduğunu vurgulayan Frankfurt Okulu Eleştirel Teorisine göre kapitalizm hasta bir toplum yaratmakla kalmayıp bu hastalığı sinema, edebiyat ve daha başka kültürel formasyonlar vasıtasıyla popülerleştirerek kitleye pazarlıyordu. Kapitalist üretim-tüketim ilişkilerinin içsel çelişkilerini içselleştiren bireyler kişilik bölünmesi yaşayarak kitlesel bir halüsinasyonun kuklaları ve kurbanları haline geliyordu. Dolayısıyla eleştirmenin görevi kendisini toplumun dışına atarak mutsuz bilincine rağmen, hatta bu mutsuzluktan ve yalnızlıktan güç alarak yeni bir düzenin yaratılması yolunda yazılar yazmaktı.

Benzer bir çizgide Gilles Deleuze ve Felix Guattari iki ciltlik Kapitalizm ve Şizofreni: Anti-Oedipus adlı kitaplarında Marx-Nietzsche-Freud üçgeni içerisinde değerlendirdikleri geç kapitalizmin kendine karşı güçleri hem üretip hem de yok ettiğini yazacaklardır yetmişlerin sonlarına doğru. Her ne kadar şizofreninin sadece kapitalizmin bir ürünü olduğuna katılmasam da Deleuze ve Guattari’nin kapitalizmin kendi ürettiği anormallikleri bastırarak canına can kattığını ve radikal anormalleşmeye götüren bir üretim-tüketim ilişkileri kısrdöngüsüne dayandığını itiraf etmek durumunda hissediyorum kendimi.

Görüldüğü gibi post-yapısalcılık ve Eleştirel Teori birbirinden sanıldığı kadar da uzak değil. Bu iki düşünce akımı yer yer birbirine zıt gibi görünse de aslında aynı hedef doğrultusunda gelişmiş ve birbirine benzer yanları olan, yirminci yüzyılın ikinci yarısına damgasını vurmuş iki ayrı muhalif tavırdır. Her iki düşünce sisteminde de göze çarpan en temel özellik disipilinlerarası bir yaklaşım sergileyerek felsefe, psikanaliz, edebiyat, sinema, siyaset alanları arasında yeni bağlantılar kurmak çabasıdır. Bu çaba yer yer başarısızlıkla sonuçlansa da bu farklı söylem biçimlerinin sentezlenmesi elbette ki takdire şayan bir uğraştır ve kapitalist üretim-tüketim ilişkilerinin eleştirisini ekeonomi-politik gibi dar bir alandan kurtarıp kapitalizmin dış yapısı ve iç dinamikleri gereği kendini sürekli yenileyerek büyüyen bir hal aldığı günümüz dünyasında kültür araştırmalarının hakettiği öneme kavuşmasını sağlamıştır. Her iki grubun da geç kapitalizmin dayattığı normlar karşısında anormalliğin eleştirel bir tavır takınmakta faydalı olabileceğini savunması ise bir tesadüftür. Zira biliyoruz ki post-yapısalcılık ve Eleştirel Teori uzun yıllar birbirlerinden habersiz bir şekilde sürdürdüler çalışmalarını. Nitekim Michel Foucault bir röportajında “Adorno’nun çalışmalarından haberim olsaydı kariyerimin başında yazdığım Deliliğin Tarihi adlı yapıtımda söylediğim pek çok saçma şeyi söylemekten kaçınırdım. Fransa’da Ecole Normale’de okurken  profesörlerimiz bize hiç bahsetmemişti Frankfurt Okulu’nun çalışmalarından. Adorno’yu keşfettiğim zaman benim patikalar açmakla uğraştığım alanlarda Adorno’nun çoktan beridir caddeler inşa ettiğini görünce hem üzüldüm hem de sevindim,” türünde sözler sarfetmiştir. (Bu noktada tarihi okuma biçimi bakımından Foucault’yla pek çok benzerlikler taşıdığını düşündüğüm Arif Hasan Tahsin’in “Aynı yolu yürüyenler farklı yerlere varamazlar,” sözlerini hatırlamamak neredeyse imkansız).

 

Dünyamızda hem doğa hem de kültür birbirine paralel olarak sürekli değişiyor. Bu değişimin devamlı suretle bir gelişim şeklinde gerçekleştiğini söylemekse oldukça zor görünüyor. Ve/fakat akışkanlığın moda haline geldiği, kimliklerin global kapitalizm potası içinde eriyerek yer yer birbirine girdiği şu günlerde düşüncenin olduğu yerde sayması elbette ki beklenemez. Bunu beklemek oldukça saçma bir beklenti olur kanaatindeyim. Nitekim kimse de böyle bir şey beklemiyor zaten ve düşünürler de düşüncelerini değiştirip günün koşullarına uyarlamak suretiyle çığ gibi büyüyen bir global anormalleşme süreci karşısında kendi normlarını ve içinde yaşadıkları toplumarın değerlerini eleştirecek yeni yöntemler ve söylemler yaratmak yolunda didinip duruyorlar. Tüm dünyada olduğu gibi yurdumuzda da geçmişten bağımsız bir gelecek düşleri bir tarafa bırakılıp tarihten kaçmanın imkansızlığı yavaş yavaş idrak ediliyor. Artık anlamayan kalmadı bugünün anlam kazanması için dünün unutulmamakla kalmayıp yeniden yazılmasının şart olduğunu. Farklı ve etkili yorum gelmişi de geçmişi de doğrusunu unutmadan yanlış okumayı becerebilmekten geçer. Bunun içinse eleştirel yorumcunun şimdi ve burada içinde yaşadığı koşullardan hareketle ve/fakat bir başka dünyanın, bir başka düzenin kurallarıyla kendi yaşam biçiminin temellerini sarsacak gücü ve cesareti kendinde bulması gerekir sevgili okur.

Bunu yapmayı başarmış en önemli okur-yazarlardan biri olan Slovenyalı düşünür Slavoj Zizek gerek kitaplarında gerekse röportajlarında ütopyaların ölmediğini veya en azından ölmemesi gerektiğini sık sık vurguluyor. Zizek hem post-yapısalcılığı hem de Eleştirel Teori’yi kullanarak bu ikisinin ötesinde ve ne biri ne de öteki olan yeni bir yaklaşımın temellerini atmış bir kişi. Zizek bunu özellikle iki grubun da dışladığı Lacan’ın öznenin oluşum teorisini Hegel’le beslemek suretiyle siyaset bilimi ve kültür araştırmalarına uygulayarak başarmış.

Zizek’in konumuzla alakasına birkaç cümle sonra döneceğiz, ancak öncelikle Lacan’ın neden önemli olduğunu kavramalıyız. Lacan’da karşılaştığımız en önemli yenilik çocuğun biyolojik varlığının sosyolojik varlığa dönüşme sürecinin açıklığa kavuşmasıdır. Lacan’cı psikanaliz büyük oranda işte bu geçiş sürecini anlatmaya çalışır. Lacan’a göre çocuk dili öğrenmeye başladığı andan itibaren biyolojik varlığından uzaklaşmaya başlar. Yani çocuk “benim adım şudur, budur, ben şuyum, buyum” demeyi öğrenmeye başladığı andan itibaren sosyal kimliğini kazanmaya başlamış, ve saltık kimliğinden, yani biyolojik kimliğinden uzaklaşmaya başlamış demektir. Buraya kadar pek de öyle yeni bir şey yok aslında, zira tüm bunlar Freudcu psikanalizle oldukça yakın bir ilişki içerisinde. Ama unutulmamalı ki Lacan’ın burada altını çizmeye çalıştığı nokta dil dediğimiz şeyin olgunlaşma sürecindeki yeri. Dilin edinilmesiyle birlikte çocuk ben, sen, o, biz, siz, onlar ayrımını yapmayı öğreniyor ve böylelikle de kendisiyle sosyal çevre arasına bir çizgi çekiyor, bir sınır koyuyor.

İşte şimdi Zizek’in konumuzla alâkasına gelebiliriz, ki nitekim işte geldik de zaten. Sanırım geldiğimiz bu noktada öncelikle eğlence endüstrisinin global anormalleşmeye katkılarından söz etmemizde fayda var. Biliyoruz ki ezelden beridir eğlenmek için normdan sapmak gerektiği görüşü son derece yaygın. Ortaçağ’dan beridir bir ülkedeki eğlencenin bolluğu o ülkedeki özgürlük bolluğunun göstergesi olarak kabul ediliyor. Ve/fakat bu görüş global kapitalizmin geldiği ve bizi getirdiği noktada anlamını yitiriyor. Meselâ reklamlara baktığımız zaman görüyoruz ki çoğu ürün insana verdiği zevk ve yaşamın tadının daha çok çıkarılmasına katkıları bağlamında değer atfediliyor. Bir mal ne kadar zevk verirse tüketiciye fiyatı da o kadar artıyor. Zizek’e göre global kapitalist sistem artık eğlenceyi kısıtlamıyor, aksine özendiriyor. Yurdumuzdaki eğlence mekânlarının bolluğu ve eğlence sektöründe bir kaç yıldır yaşanan patlama bunun en önemli göstergelerinden biri. Dolayısıyla yurdumuzdaki eğlence mekânlarının bolluğuna kanıp da yurdumuzun her gün ve her bakımdan özgürleşmekte olduğu sonucuna varmak son derece yanlış. Bilâkis eğlence sektöründeki bu patlamayı global kapitalizmin insanları boyunduruğu altına alıp onları özgürleşmekte oldukları yanılsamasına hapsederek salakça bir sevince mahkûm ediyor oluşu şeklinde yorumlamalıyız. Bu yorumu yapabilmemiz içinse çok eğlenmiş ve eğlenceden bıkıp usanmış olmamız gerekmiyor; her ne kadar eğlenceden bıkıp usanarak eve kapanıp bol bol kitap okumak ve Hollywood filmlerinden daha başka filmler seyretmek bu saptamayı yapmayı kolaylaştırıcı faktörler olsa da…

Ha eğer olayı global bazda düşünmek arzusuyla yanıp tutuşmamıza rağmen odaya kapanıp mevcut düzeni eleştiren kitaplar okumak ve sıradışı filmler seyretmek düşüncesine sıcak bakmıyorsak mahalle bakkalına gidip Coca-Cola tenekelerine bakmamız da işe yarayabilir. Coca-Cola tenekesine baktığımız zaman görürüz ki üzerinde “Enjoy Coke!” yazmaktadır ki bu Türkçe’de aşağı yukarı “Kolanın tadını çıkar!” veya abartacak olursak “Kola iç ve zevk al, hatta zevkten kudur!” anlamına falan gelmektedir. Oysa kola içip de orgazm olanını ben henüz ne gördüm ne de duydum.  Kola içen adamın da kadının da olsa olsa dişleri çürür, asitten midesi delinir, kendisini çarpıntı bulur, şeker hastası olur ve daha da abartacak olursak kudurur ölür; zevkten değil ama, global ve kapitalist gazdan…

By Andrew Robinson

The usefulness of Deleuzian theory for social transformation will vary with the selection of which conceptual contributions one chooses to appropriate. Studying Deleuzian theory is complicated by characteristics of Deleuze and Guattari’s philosophical method. In What is Philosophy?, they define the function of theory in terms of proliferating concepts – inventing new conceptual categories which construct new ways of seeing. In common with many constructivists, they take the view that our relationship to the world is filtered through our conceptual categories. Distinctively, they also view agency in terms of differentiation – each person or group creates itself, not by selecting among available alternatives, but by splitting existing totalities through the creation of new differences. This approach leads to a proliferation of different concepts which, across Deleuze and Guattari’s collaborative and individual works, total in the hundreds.

Instead of seeking to trim their conceptual innovations and neologisms (new words) for simplicity and necessity (an efficiency model of theory – “just in time”, like modern production), they multiply concepts as tools for use, which, although possibly redundant in some analyses, may be useful for others (a resilience model of theory – “just in case”, like indigenous and autonomous cultures). They encourage readers to pick and choose from their concepts, selecting those which are useful and simply passing by those which are not. This has contributed to the spread of diverse Deleuzian approaches which draw on different aspects of their work, but also makes it easy for people to make incomplete readings of their theories, appropriating certain concepts for incompatible theoretical projects while rejecting the revolutionary dynamic of the theory itself. As a result, a large proportion of what passes for Deleuzian theory has limited resonance with the general gist of Deleuze and Guattari’s work, which is not at all about reconciling oneself to the dominant system, but rather, is about constructing other kinds of social relations impossible within the dominant frame. The proliferation of concepts is intended to support such constructions of other ways of being. Another effect of the proliferation of concepts is to make Deleuzian theory difficult to explain or express in its entirety.

In this article, I have chosen to concentrate on the conceptual pairing of states and war-machines as a way of understanding the differences between autonomous social networks and hierarchical, repressive formations. Deleuze and Guattari view the ‘state’ as a particular kind of institutional regime derived from a set of social relations which can be traced to a way of seeing focused on the construction of fixities and representation. There is thus a basic form of the state (a “state-form”) in spite of the differences among specific states. Since Deleuze and Guattari’s theory is primarily relational and processual, the state exists primarily as a process rather than a thing. The state-form is defined by the processes or practices of ‘overcoding’, ‘despotic signification’ and ‘machinic enslavement’. These attributes can be explained one at a time. The concept of despotic signification, derived from Lacan’s idea of the master-signifier, suggests that, in statist thought, a particular signifier is elevated to the status of standing for the whole, and the other of this signifier (remembering that signification is necessarily differential) is defined as radically excluded. ‘Overcoding’ consists in the imposition of the regime of meanings arising from this fixing of representations on the various processes through which social life and desire operate. In contrast to the deep penetration which occurs in capitalism, states often do this fairly lightly, but with brutality around the edges. Hence for instance, in historical despotic states, the inclusion of peripheral areas only required their symbolic subordination, and not any real impact on everyday life in these areas. Overcoding also, however, entails the destruction of anything which cannot be represented or encoded.

‘Machinic enslavement’ occurs when assembled groups of social relations and desires, known in Deleuzian theory as ‘machines’, are rendered subordinate to the regulatory function of the despotic signifier and hence incorporated in an overarching totality. This process identifies Deleuze and Guattari’s view of the state-form with Mumford’s idea of the megamachine, with the state operating as a kind of absorbing and enclosing totality, a bit like the Borg in Star Trek, eating up and assimilating the social networks with which it comes into contact. Crucially, while these relations it absorbs often start out as horizontal, or as hierarchical only at a local level, their absorption rearranges them as vertical and hierarchical aggregates. It tends to destroy or reduce the intensity of horizontal connections, instead increasing the intensity of vertical subordination. Take, for instance, the formation of the colonial state in Africa: loose social identities were rigidly reclassified as exclusive ethnicities, and these ethnicities were arranged in hierarchies (for instance, Tutsi as superior to Hutu) in ways which created rigid boundaries and oppressive relations culminating in today’s conflicts…Read More

Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari
 
Andrew Robinson is a political theorist and activist based in the UK. His book Power, Resistance and Conflict in the Contemporary World: Social Movements, Networks and Hierarchies (co-authored with Athina Karatzogianni) was published in Sep 2009 by Routledge. His ‘In Theory’ column appears every other Friday.
 

Brassier: Capital and the Incompressible Here is my exegesis of Ray Brassier‘s compelling conjectural reversal that moves from thinking Capital to the bold conclusion that Capital thinks. In his text ‘Nihil Unbound: Remarks on Subtractive Ontology and Thinking Capital’ he grapples with how it might be possible to think Capital by providing an objective determination-in-the-last-instance. Beyond the Marxist analysis of the dynamics of accumulation, Brassier draws on recent philosophical… Read More

via Total Assault On Culture

      
 
Now, more than ever, one should insist on what Badiou calls the ‘eternal’ Idea of Communism.  – Slavoj Zizek
 
A new program for the Left after the death of neoliberalism. ‘We know that communism is the right hypothesis. All those who abandon this hypothesis immediately resign themselves to the market economy, to parliamentary democracy—the form of state suited to capitalism—and to the inevitable and “natural” character of the most monstrous inequalities.’—Alain Badiou
 

Badiou’s Communist Hypothesis and The Idea of Communism Conference > Resources


 

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Mark Fisher has been writing an acclaimed blog as k-punk for some years now. Focussing on culture, especially music and literature, and politics. His writing also appears in the New Statesman, Frieze, The Wire, Sight and Sound and FACT. A founder member of the Cybernetic Culture Research Unit, he now teaches at Goldsmiths University and the City Literary Institute in London.

In November last year he published his first book Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative?, and also edited a collection of texts on the death of Michael Jackson, The Resistible Demise of Michael Jackson, both published with Zer0 Books.

Rowan Wilson: Your blog, k-punk, is one of the leading blogs for cultural analysis. When did you first start writing it and why did you start?

Mark Fisher: Thank you. I started it in 2003. At the time, I was working as a Philosophy lecturer in a Further Education college in Kent – I reflect on some of my experiences there in Capitalist Realism. I was then quite badly depressed – not because of teaching, which I enjoyed, but for a whole series of long-term reasons – and I started blogging as a way of getting back into writing after the traumatic experience of doing a PhD. PhD work bullies one into the idea that you can’t say anything about any subject until you’ve read every possible authority on it. But blogging seemed a more informal space, without that kind of pressure. Blogging was a way of tricking myself back into doing serious writing. I was able to con myself, thinking, “it doesn’t matter, it’s only a blog post, it’s not an academic paper”. But now I take the blog rather more seriously than writing academic papers. I was actually only aware of blogs for a short while before I started mine. But I could quite quickly see that the blog network around Simon Reynolds’ blog [see the RSB interview with Reynolds] – which was the first network I started to read – fulfilled many of the functions that the music press used to. But it wasn’t just replicating the old music press; there were also sorts of strange, idiosyncratic blogs which couldn’t have existed in any other medium. I saw that – contrary to all the clichés – blogs didn’t have to be online diaries: they were a blank space in which writers could pursue their own lines of interest (something that it‘s increasingly difficult for writers to do in print media, for a number of reasons).

RW: You’re almost one of the elder statespeople of blogging now. How has it changed since you started?

MF: Blogging networks shift all the time; new blogs enter the network, older ones fall away; new networks constitute themselves. One of the most significant developments was the introduction of comments; a largely unfortunate change in my view. In the early days of blogs, if you wanted to respond to a post, you had to reply on your own blog, and if you didn’t have a blog, you had to create one. Comments tend to reduce things to banal sociality, with all its many drawbacks.

Yet blogs continue to do things that can’t be done anywhere else: look at the way that Speculative Realism has propagated through blogs. Originally coined as term of convenience for the work of the philosophers Ray Brassier, Graham Harman, Iain Hamilton Grant and Quentin Meillassoux, Speculative Realism now has an online unlife of its own. This isn’t just commentary on existing philosophical positions; it’s a philosophy that is actually happening on the web. Graham has his own blog, Object-Oriented Philosophy, but there are a whole range of Speculative Realism-related blogs, including Speculative Heresy and Planomenology. Reid Kane of Plamomenology has gone so far as to argue that Speculative Realism is “the first avatar of distributed cognition”, that, in other words, there is a natural fit between SR and the online medium.

RW: You were one of the co-founders of the Cybernetic Culture Research Unit (CCRU), described by Simon Reynolds as the academic equivalent of Apocalypse Now’s Colonel Kurtz. Who did you form it with and what was its purpose?

MF: The main driving forces behind it were Sadie Plant and Nick Land. But Sadie Plant left quite quickly so the CCRU as it developed was much more shaped by Nick Land. Nick’s 1990s texts – which are to be issued in a collected edition this year, by Urbanomic, who publish the Collapse journal – are incredible. Far from the dry databasing of much academic writing or the pompous solemnity of so much continental philosophy, Nick’s texts were astonishing theory-fictions. They weren’t distanced readings of French theory so much as cybergothic remixes which put Deleuze and Guattari on the same plane as films such as Apocalypse Now and fictions such as Gibson’s Neuromancer.

Jungle was crucial to the Ccru. What the Ccru was about was capturing, (and extrapolating) this specifically British take on cyberculture, in which music was central. Ccru was trying to do with writing what Jungle, with its samples from such as Predator, Terminator and Blade Runner, was doing in sound: “text at sample velocity”, as Kodwo Eshun put it.

RW: The writing of the Ccru seems very different to your current style. Are you still involved with the Ccru – and indeed is it still operating?

MF: It was never formally disbanded but then again it was never formally constituted. It’s odd because, it’s only a decade on that the stuff is starting to get published in book form. As I said, Nick’s texts are just about to be published. Steve Goodman (aka Kode9) has just had his book Sonic Warfarepublished on MIT Press. As for the change of style, I suppose a number of things happened. One was the slowing of the UK cyberculture that had inspired the Ccru throughout the 90s. Gradually, the exorbitant hypotheses of the Ccru seemed to have less purchase on a culture that increasingly seemed to correspond more with Jameson’s ideas of retrospection and pastiche. In the 90s, it was possible to oppose a vibrant cyberculture to the malaise which Jameson identified. But in the 00s, the blight of postmodernism spread everywhere.

Also, I found that, as I started teaching regularly, and as I got used to writing for an audience – and there’s no form of writing that makes you as aware of having an audience as blogging; print publications just don’t compare – I rediscovered rhetoric, argument and engagement. The exhilaration of the Ccru-style was its uncompromising blizzard of jargon, text as a tattoo of intensities to which you just had to submit. But it’s hard to maintain that kind of speed-intensity for longer writing projects; and I found that I enjoyed producing writing that was expositorier and which tried to engage the reader rather than blitz them. I like Zizek’s line that the idiot he is trying to explain philosophy to is himself; I feel the same. Much of my writing now is me trying to explain things to/for myself.

There were also political schisms. The Ccru defined itself against the sclerotic stranglehold that a certain moralizing Old Left had on the Humanities academy. There was a kind of exuberant anti-politics, a ‘technihilo’ celebration of the irrelevance of human agency, partly inspired by the pro-markets, anti-capitalism line developed by Manuel DeLanda out of Braudel, and from the section of Anti-Oedipus that talks about marketization as the “revolutionary path”. This was a version of what Alex Williams has called “accelerationism”, but it has never been properly articulated as a political position; the tendency is to fall back into a standard binary, with capitalism and libertarianism on one side and the state and centralization on the other.

But working in the public sector in Blairite Britain made me see that neoliberal capitalism didn’t fit with the accelerationist model; on the contrary, pseudo-marketization was producing the pervasive, decentralized bureaucracy I describe in Capitalist Realism. My experiences as a teacher and as trade union activist combined with a belated encounter with Zizek – who was using some of the same conceptual materials as Ccru (the Freudian death drive; pulp culture, technology), but giving them a leftist spin – to push me towards a different political position. I guess what I’m interested in now is in synthesizing some of the interests and methods of the Ccru with a new leftism. Speculative Realism has returned to some of the areas that the Ccru was interested in. What I’m hoping will happen in the next decade is that a new kind of theory will develop that emerges from people who have been deep-cooked in post-Fordist capitalism, who take cyberspace for granted and who lack nostalgia for the exhausted paradigms of the old left.

RW: One of the most exciting things to happen in publishing last year was the development of the Zer0 Books imprint. Can you explain how that came about and the purpose of the project?

MF: The imprint was set up by the novelist Tariq Godard. He asked Nina Power and me if we’d like to do books, and we suggested a range of other people. What we wanted was to produce the kind of books we’d want to read ourselves, but which weren’t being published anywhere. In mainstream media, the space that had drawn Tariq and myself towards theory in the first place – the music press, areas of the broadcast media – had disappeared. Effectively, that kind of discourse had been driven into exile online. So part of what Zer0 was about was harvesting the work that has been developed on the blog networks. Zer0 is about establishing a para-space, between theory and popular culture, between cyberspace and the university. The Zer0 books are a reminder of what ought to be obvious, but which the imbecilic reductionism of neoliberal media would like us to forget: serious writing doesn’t have to be opaque and incomprehensible, and popular writing doesn’t have to be facile.

RW: Your first book, Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative?, was published by Zer0 in November. Why do you think that capitalism, even in the wake of the financial crisis, has such a grip on our consciousness?

MF: I’m not sure that it has a grip on our consciousness so much as on our unconscious. It shapes the limits of what we can imagine. It does so because it has enjoyed 20 years of unchallenged domination, blitzing our nervous systems with its intoxicants, paralysing thought. Put at its simplest, capitalist realism is the widespread idea that capitalism is the only “realistic” political economic system. The response to the financial crisis only reinforced this belief – it was (on every level) unthinkable that the banks could be allowed to crash. The problem is imagining an alternative that anyone believes could be actually attained. Which isn’t to say that an alternative can’t ever come about; in fact, after the financial crisis, we’re in the bizarre situation at the moment where everything – very much including the continuation of the status quo – looks impossible.  But this is already an improvement from how things seemed only two years ago. The financial crisis forced capitalist realism to change its form. The old neoliberal story was no longer viable. But Capital has not yet cobbled together much of a new narrative, or come up with any economic solution to the problems that led to the crash in the first place. It’s as if capitalism has suffered its own version of shock therapy.

RW: How is your argument different from that put forward by Fredric Jameson in his work on the culture of postmodernism?

MF: Well, as I say in the book, in many ways what I’m calling “capitalist realism” can be contained under the rubric of Jameson’s theorization of postmodernism. Yet the very persistence and ubiquity of the processes that Jameson identifies – the destruction of a sense of history, the supersession of novelty by pastiche – meant that they have changed in kind. Postmodernism is now no longer a tendency in culture; it has subsumed practically all culture. Capitalist realism, you might say, is what happens when postmodernism is naturalized. After all, we’ve now got a generation of young adults who have known nothing but global capitalism and who are accustomed to culture being pastiche and recapitulation.

RW: In the book you move from describing the problems of capitalist society to how it is making us mentally ill. What do you think are the central lasting effects of neoliberalism on our psyches and, with its collapse, how do you see these unravelling?

MF: Neoliberalism installs a perpetual anxiety – there is no security; your position and status are under constant review. It’s no wonder that, as Oliver James shows in The Selfish Capitalist, depression is so prevalent in neoliberalized countries. Widespread mental illness is one of the hidden costs of neoliberal capitalism; stress has been privatized. If you’re depressed because of overwork, that’s between you and your brain chemistry!

I do think that the financial crisis killed neoliberalism as a political project – but it doesn’t need to be alive in order to continue to dominate our minds, work and culture. Even though neoliberalism now lacks any forward momentum, it still controls things by default. So, sadly, I don’t see the deleterious psychic effects of neoliberalism waning any time in the immediate future.

RW:You identify the madness of managerial bureaucracy, the incessant and pointless ‘auditing culture’, in contemporary public services, specifically education. You discuss how this auditing culture is now, along with capitalism’s PR network, a new big Other, a replacement for God. It’s the ideological matrix that we all cynically dismiss (not just privately – this cynicism is now the accepted public language; see the Guardian’s G2 section for daily examples) but nonetheless remains the binding authority. Why are we not simply able to shrug it off?

MF: PR is not limited any more to specific promotional activities – as I say in the book, under capitalism, all that is solid melts into PR. In so-called “immaterial” labour, the effect of auditing is not to improve actual performance but to generate a representation of better performance. It’s a familiar effect that anyone subject to New Labour’s targets will know all too well.

Neoliberalism reproduces itself through cynicism, through people doing things they “don’t really believe”. It’s a question of power. People go along with auditing culture and what I call “business ontology” not necessarily because they agree with it, but because that is the ruling order, “that’s just how things are now, and we can’t do anything about it”. That kind of sentiment is what I mean by capitalist realism. And it isn’t merely queitsm; it’s true that almost no-one working in public services is likely to be sacked if they get a poor performance review (they will just be subject to endless retraining); but they might well be sacked if they start questioning the performance review system itself or refusing to co-operate with it.

RW: So now we move from the critique to the positive proposals. In an interview with Matthew Fuller for Mute you tentatively suggest that the left needs to come up with a new big Other, one that is more representative of Rousseau’s ‘general will’. How is this to be distinguished from the capitalist big Other and how would it be prevented from becoming reified, a new system of mystical dominance?

RW: Reification isn’t a problem per se; in fact, it’s something we should hope for. Evan Calder Williams, whose book Combined and Uneven Apocalypse is coming out on Zer0, talks of an “anti-capitalist reification”, and I think that’s what we need to develop. It’s capitalism that poses as being anti-reification; it’s capitalism that presents itself as having dissolved all illusions and exposed the underlying reality of things. Part of what I’m arguing in Capitalist Realism is that this is an ideological sleight of hand; it’s precisely neoliberal capitalism’s ostensible demystifications (its reduction of everything to the supposedly self-evident category of the free individual) that allow all kinds of strange, quasi-theological entities to rule our lives. But I don’t think the aim should be to replace capitalism’s fake anti-reification with a “real” anti-reification. Reification can’t be entirely eliminated. I take this to be one of the important lessons that Lacanian psychoanalysis has to teach. Being a speaking subject at all involves a minimal reification; the big Other is coterminous with language itself. But this is very far from being a problem for the left. It’s the left that needs to insist on the reality of something in excess of individuals, whether you call it the “general will”, the “public interest”, or something else. When Mrs Thatcher famously denied the existence of society, she was echoing Max Stirner’s claim that all such abstractions are “spooks”. But we can’t ever rid ourselves of these incorporeal entities – neoliberalism certainly hasn’t. As I argue in Capitalist Realism, neoliberalism hasn’t killed the big Other – for who is the consumer of PR (which no actual empirical individual believes) if not the big Other? The point now – and I would affirm this forcefully, not tentatively – is to invent a leftist big Other. This doesn’t mean reviving authoritarianism; there is no necessary relation between the big Other and a strong leader. On the contrary, in fact, authoritarianism happens when there is a confusion between the big Other (as virtuality) and an empirical individual. What we need are institutions and agents that will stand in for – but cannot be equated with – a leftist big Other.

RW: You talk about the re-formatting of memory that is a symptom of capitalist realism, where history can be altered almost instantly (as in a Philip K. Dick novel) as we stand agog before the supposed ceaseless innovation of capitalism. You were also one of those to start using the concept ‘hauntology’, the idea that there was a cultural meme that acknowledged the collapse of a moment and picks through the remains for the lost futures buried within (it’s probably fair to say that Owen Hatherley’s Militant Modernism, the first Zer0 Book, is operating within this terrain). Similarly, we are in a political landscape littered with ‘ideological rubble’ (as you quote Alex Williams). My suspicion is that for you the ‘moment’ that has collapsed is the politics of ’68, one that was perhaps guilty of the re-formatting of history and memory in its own way, before many of its ideas were taken up by a post-Fordist capitalism. So what is the detritus that you are picking through? What of the discarded remnants of left politics would you dust off? And is it possible to give old ideas new momentum?

MF: I would say that, in many ways, the politics of ’68 haven’t collapsed enough. ’68 is a spectre which still hangs over theory. Yet the forces which ’68 railed against no longer exist; there is no Stalinist Party or State that we need to blow apart with a Cultural Revolution. Which isn’t to say that we should want to return to Stalinist authoritarianism, or that it is possible to do so; the oscillation between these two options is the sign of a failure of political imagination. It’s necessary to go all the way through post-Fordism, to keep looking ahead, especially at times when there seems to be nothing ahead of us. Part of the importance of the concept of hauntology is the idea of lost futures, of things which never happened but which could have. On one level, late capitalism is indeed all about ceaseless reinvention, nothing is solid, everything is mutable; but on another level, it is about recapitulation, homogeneity, minimally different commodities. Some of Jameson’s best passages are about this strange antinomy. Deleuze and Guattari, too, emphasize the way in which capitalism is a bizarre mix of the ultra-modern and the archaic. The failure of the future haunts capitalism: after 1989, capitalism’s victory has not consisted in it confidently claiming the future, but in denying that the future is possible.  All we can expect, we have been led to believe, is more of the same – but on higher resolution screens with faster connections. Hauntology, I think, expresses dissatisfaction with this foreclosure of the future.

So it’s not now a question of giving old ideas new momentum, it’s a matter of fighting over the meaning of the words “new” and “modern”. Neoliberalism has made it seem self-evident that “modernization” means managerialism, increased exploitation of workers, outsourcing etc. But of course this isn’t self-evident: the neoliberals fought a long campaign on many fronts in order to impose that definition. And now neoliberalism itself is a discredited relic – albeit, as I argued above, one that still dominates our lives, but only by default now. Part of the battle now will be to ensure that neoliberalism is perceived to be defunct. I think that’s already happening. There is a change in the cultural atmosphere, small at the moment, but it will increase. What Jim McGuigan calls “cool capitalism”, the culture of swaggering business and conspicuous consumption that dominated the last decade, already looks as if it belongs to a world that is dead and gone. After the financial crisis, all those television programmes about selling property and the like became out of date overnight. These things aren’t trivial; they have provided the background noise which capitalist realism needed in order to naturalise itself. The financial crisis has weakened the corporate elite – not materially so much as ideologically. And, by the same token, it has given confidence to those opposed to the ruling order. I’m sure that the university occupations are the signs of a growing militancy. We need to take advantage of this new mood. There’s nothing old fashioned about the idea of rational organisation of resources, or that public space is important. (The failure to rationally organise natural resources is now evident to everyone; and the consequences of letting the concept of public space decline are equally obvious to anyone living in Britain, with its violent crime and drunkenness, both of which are symptoms of a kind of despair that is as unacknowledged under capitalist realism as it is ubiquitous). Similarly, what is intrinsically “modern” about putting workers under intolerable stress? The pseudonymous postal worker Roy Mayall put this very well in his LRB blog:

We used to be told that there were three elements to the postal trade: the business, the customers and the staff, and that all were equally important. These days we are clearly being told that only the business matters. So now the ‘modernisers’ are moving in. They are young, thrusting, in-your-face and they think they know all the answers. According to them, the future is the application of new technology within the discipline of the market. But the market doesn’t tell us what to do: people tell us what to do. The ‘market’ is essentially a ploy by which one group of people’s interests are imposed on the rest of us. The postal trade is at the front line of a battle between people’s needs and the demands of corporations to make ever increasing profits. That’s what they mean by ‘modernisation’, and it’s not ‘nostalgia’ to remind ourselves that things used to be different.

But the fight will only be won when we can say with confidence, not only that things used to be different in the past, but that they can be different in the future too. I’m hoping that, before long, the neoliberal era will be seen for what it was: a barbarous anti-Enlightenment atavism, a temporary interruption of a process of egalitarian modernization.

RW: At the end of last year you edited a collection of essays, The Resistible Demise of Michael Jackson, brought out almost at the speed of John Blake Publishing! What was so important about Michael Jackson’s death that made you put such energy into this project?

MF: Yes, it’s rapid-response theory! There’s no doubt that Jackson’s death arrived at a punctual moment. A whole thirty year reality system had just collapsed with the bank bail-outs. Obama had been elected. There was no-one who personified that thirty year period more than Michael Jackson. In the few days after Jackson died, I found myself watching his videos over and over again. I surprised myself by moved from a position of detached cynicism to feeling increasingly sad. There was something in those videos – particularly the Off The Wall clips – which afterwards disappeared from Jackson personally and from the culture in general. So I listened to Off The Wall and “Billie Jean” obsessively. I probably listened to “Billie Jean” forty times, but it was like listening to it for the first time; there were depths to it I’d never got to before. I wrote a post on my blog which elicited some positive responses; and it struck me that the network around Zer0 – which includes many of the world’s music writers as well as theorists – was in an ideal position to produce a book that could deal with MJ as a symptom. Which isn’t to say that the book is some desiccated analysis that doesn’t engage with the sensuous qualities of Jackson’s music – there are some wonderful descriptions of the tracks and Jackson’s dancing. The book was put together very quickly, but I’m extremely pleased with the results. It was heartening to see what music writers can do when you give them space and let them pursue their interests. There are some pieces in the book – such as Chris Roberts’ and Ian Penman’s – that are so sui generis that it is difficult to imagine them appearing anywhere else.

RW: You’ve had a busy year, what with the blog, teaching, finishing a stint as reviews editor at The Wire, conference papers, marriage, Zer0 and the publication of two books – is it time for a rest now or will 2010 be just as busy?

MF: This is not the time for a rest. On a personal level, a rest is impossible. Most of what I do doesn’t make me much money, so I have to keep working at a furious rate to keep my head above water. On a wider cultural and political level, this is a highly exciting time, not a moment to be convalescing. This year, in addition to the teaching, blogging, freelancing and editing for Zer0, I will be putting out Ghosts Of My Life, which will bring together my writings on hauntology and lost futures; in some ways, it’s the other half of Capitalist Realism. There’s another big project that I’m involved with which I have high hopes for, but we’re not ready to go public on that yet.

RW: And finally, I hope it’s not too late to ask what were your favourite books of last year?

MF: Apart from the Zer0 books – and I’ve almost certainly forgotten something really important – they would be:

Fredric Jameson, Valences Of The Dialectic. A genuinely monumental work that I expect to be referring to for many years.
Graham Harman, Prince Of Networks. A stunning reinterpretation of Bruno Latour’s work that is also Graham’s most lucid account yet of his object-oriented philosophy
Jodi Dean, Democracy and Other Neoliberal Fantasies: Communicative Capitalism and Left Politics. Jodi’s sharp analysis of the impasses of the left is also a kind of requiem for much the 2.0 bluster of the last decade.
Slavoj Zizek, First As Tragedy, Then As Farce. Much more focused than some of Zizek’s recent books, this was a reminder of his supreme relevance to the current conjuncture.

RW: Thanks Mark.

Rowan Wilson (22/02/2010)
RSB-ROBOT
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 organ without a body

The Naked Lunch I am concerned with here is David Cronenberg’s film about William Burroughswriting process of Naked Lunch. The film, rather than being a direct adaptation of the novel, is a distillation of Burroughs’s life as he strives to write himself out of the past. We see Burroughs progressively deteriorating to the level of a dumb beast as he tries to make sense of his sufferings in and through writing. In the introduction he wrote for the 1985 edition of his earlier novel Queer, the writing of which dates back to 1953 following the two years period of depression, guilt, and anxiety ridden self-hatred after his accidental shooting of his wife Joan in September 1951, Burroughs, in an almost confessional manner, explicates the sources of his compulsion to write. Writing, for Burroughs, represents his lifelong pursuit of getting out of consciousness and reaching the area between fantasy and reality.

I am forced to the appalling conclusion that I would never have become a writer but for Joan’s death, and to a realization of the extent to which this event has motivated and formulated my writing. I live with the constant threat of possession, and a constant need to escape from possession, from Control. So the death of Joan brought me in contact with the invader, the Ugly Spirit, and maneuvered me into a lifelong struggle, in which I have had no choice except to write my way out.[1]

The death of Joan creates a space within Burroughs into which he escapes, and attempts to fill with his writings. Cronenberg explicates what Burroughs had already implied in his introduction to Queer. In the film writing in particular and creativity in general is shown to be a response to a traumatic incident, that is, production of fantasies to compensate for the horrors of life. As the film proceeds so does the mental deterioration of Bill Lee who represents Burroughs in the movie. The first signs of Lee’s split come when he is arrested by two policemen for “the possession of dangerous substances.” What they are talking about is the bug-powder which, Lee, who has given up writing to become a bug exterminator, uses to kill insects. The two policemen ask him to demonstrate his profession. One of them puts an insect the size of a hand on a pile of bug powder to see if the insect will die. As the insect begins moving its wings, arms, and legs they leave the room and Lee with the insect. As soon as they leave the room the insect tells Lee through a mouth-anus at its back that it has instructions for him, that it comes from the Interzone, that his wife Joan is not actually human and that he has to kill her. The insect asks Lee if he could put some bug powder on its mouth-anus upon the application of which it starts to make noises and movements as if in an orgy. In the next scene we are in reality and Joan is asking Lee to put some bug powder on her lips. As wee see a few scenes later that the mouth-anus turns out to be the abyss, the bottomless depth, or the space in-between fantasy and reality in which Lee loses himself and shoots his wife.

This presentation of fantasy and reality side by side occurs throughout the film. It is when the gap between fantasy and reality disappears that the Unconscious manifests itself. In the case of Bill Lee the undesired event is pushed back into the unconscious in turn causing an accumulation of sadistic impulses in him. These sadistic impulses are then externalized in and through writing. For Burroughs writing was cathartic in that it liberated the untamed drives and prevented the manifestation of aggression in the external world. In Cronenberg what we see is almost the opposite of this attitude to writing. As we know from Dead Ringers, Videodrome, and eXistenZ, for Cronenberg writing and creativity have destructive rather than therapeutic effects on the writer. In the film Bill Lee emerges as the culmination of these two opposing views on not only the creative process but also the relationship between the creator and the creation, the subject and the object, mind and body. As the arena of this conflict Bill Lee’s world is that of the one in-between the internal and the external worlds, the Interzone, or in psychoanalytic terms the Unconscious, the Real, where there is no self or not self.

Interzone is Tangiers on the North African coast where Burroughs wrote Naked Lunch in 1953. In those days it was a place of escape for the self-exiled artists and artisans. At Interzone everyone has their own particular universality in one big universal cesspool and that cesspool is Lee’s fantasy world. The Real, or the Unconscious, is impossible to represent and all those monsters, bug-typewriters, and disgusting images are only the creations of Lee’s hallucinating mind. In it every universality is surrounded by many other universalities and each universality is a body without organs. Upon arrival at the Interzone Lee starts to see his typewriter as an insect resembling the one which he had first encountered in the interrogation room at the police station. The bug-typewriter becomes the mouth-anus mechanism, the partial object opening a gap through language in-between the body without organs and the organ without a body.

Orality is naturally prolonged in cannibalism and anality in the case of which partial objects are excreta, capable of exploding the mother’s body, as well as the body of the infant. The bits of one are always the persecutors of the other, and, in this abominable mixture which constitutes the Passion of the nursing infant, persecutor and persecuted are always the same. In this system of mouth-anus or aliment-excrement, bodies burst and cause other bodies to burst in a universal cesspool.[2]

Here Deleuze is referring to Melanie Klein’s Psychoanalysis of Children. The state of being which Deleuze summarizes is the paranoid-schizoid position of the child, the world of simulacra. At this stage, which preceeds Lacan’s mirror stage, the child is not yet capable of identification. There is an introjection-projection mechanism going on but the objects, internal and external, are experienced as bad objects. The conception of goodness has not yet developed in the child. Since there is no good object for the child to identify with there is no condition of possibility for the identificatory process with a good or a bad object, there is no self or not self.

The paranoid-schizoid position is followed by the manic-depressive position in which identification with a good object takes place. The passage from paranoid-schizoid introjection-projection to manic-depressive identification is the process of passing through the Interzone, or in Lacan’s words “traversing the fantasy.” In Deleuze’s terms this process is the hovering of an impersonal consciousness over the transcendental field of partial objects. The bug-typewriter is Lee’s impersonal consciousness manifesting itself in the form of a paranoid fantasy, a body without organs which is pretending to be an organ without a body. In fact it is neither a body without organs nor an organ without a body and yet it is both at the same time. It is a becoming in between being and non-being.

Cronenberg’s move is away from Burroughs’s Kafkaesque understanding of the body as metaphor and towards a Deleuzean narrative of the metamorphosis of the body in a literal sense. All those self-destructive creators are inverted into the spotlight in and through Croneberg’s films and this enables Cronenberg to contemplate on the creative process as an inversion of destructive process and fill the film with this contemplation. What we see in Naked Lunch is the death drive in conflict with the life drive.

In Deleuze the body without organs is the metaphor of the death drive. And since the death drive is a response to the fragmentation of the self, it can only take the form of a paranoid fantasy projected onto the Real. The body without organs is the partial objects brought together in a totalizing way, in a way that deprives them of their partialities.

What the schizoid position opposes to bad partial objects—introjected and projected, toxic and excremental, oral and anal—is not a good object, even if it were partial. What is opposed is rather an organism without parts, a body without organs, with neither mouth nor anus, having given up all introjection or projection, and being complete, at this price.[3]

The body without organs, then, is the absence of a connection between the subject’s inside and outside. The subject, in a state of total negation, neither eats nor excretes. It eats nothingness itself and becomes the catatonic (w)hole. It is not out of the body without organs that the subject is born but from the paranoid-schizoid position which consists of a not yet formed consciousness, an impersonal consciousness violently attacking the external world and splitting the given unities. As opposed to the body without organs it consists of projection and introjection of the partial objects surrounding the subject to create fantasies such as an illusionary ego, and learns to keep the body without organs, or the Real at bay. The paranoid-schizoid position is followed by the manic-depressive position which corresponds to the formation of the super-ego and the sustenance of a balance between id, ego, and super-ego.

Burroughs’s cut-up and fold-in techniques appear to be the two constituent parts of his defense mechanism against the spectre of Joan haunting him. To escape from the paralyzing state of being haunted by the spectre, that is, not to turn into a body without organs, he carries the projection-introjection mechanism to its furthest and literally and unconsciously puts words and sentences, partial objects, next to and within each other to make up discontinuities, cause ruptures and keep the Real at bay. Through giving a voice to the Real as it is before symbolization, Burroughs’s intends to prevent it from becoming real, from being actualized  hence submitting the governance of his actions to an external force. It is this mechanism of repression inherent in the cut-up technique that causes what it tries to cure. The cut-up technique involves literally cutting-up passages and putting them together as a new text which would be neither the one nor the other, hence deforming the syntax. The fold-in technique involves folding into each other the different parts of the same text, hence distorting the order of time. In both states what is at stake is a total negation of the external world as a result of its being considered as hostile. In Burroughs the paranoid fantasy projected on the real replaces reality with its inverted version, that is, Burroughs turns what he imagines the external world to be against itself by creating a paranoid fantasy involving a scenario in which the subject believes itself to be governed by an internally constituted external and evil force. Burroughs discovered cut-up and fold-in techniques as a defense mechanism against the paranoid fantasy he constructed around himself. To get out of this mad symbolic world, he decided to slash it into pieces and connect it with other texts that are themselves torn apart.

Burroughs’s cut-up technique is a result of his search for a way of desymbolizing the paranoid symbolic world he had constructed and projected onto the external world. Burroughs thought resymbolization was therapeutic in that it gave voice to the evil within in the way of expelling it. Cut-up technique aims at desymbolizing the totalitarian system surrounding the subject and was a defense against the totalitarian nature of this resymbolization. Burroughs himself admits in a letter written to Kerouac shortly after beginning to use the cut-up and fold-in techniques that “writing now causes me an almost unendurable pain.”[4] In Naked Lunch the movie, the theme of the materiality of language recurs through the encounters between the bug-typewriter and Bill Lee. Bill Lee creates an insect within, projects it onto his typewriter, and talks with it.  His creations have taken on lives of their own and are doing and saying things mostly against him.

  • (via silent-musings)In Nova Express, Burroughs’s 1964 text, The Invisible Man says, “These colourless sheets are what flesh is made from—Becomes flesh when it has colour and writing—That is Word and Image write the message that is you on colourless sheets determine all flesh.”[5] Burroughs had a strong sense of the materiality of language. When he has The Invisible Man say “becomes flesh when it has colour and writing” he is in a way referring to the Unconscious as the invisible man who is striving to become visible to himself and to others in and through language.

 Foucault’s interpretation of Bentham’s Panoptic mechanism becomes relevant here. In Discipline and Punish Michel Foucault presents the Panopticon as a metaphor of how power operates within modern western society. A revolutionary apparatus for its time (19th century), the Panopticon was more than just a model of prison for Foucault, it was a mechanism to keep an absent eye on the prisoner, to keep them under control at all times.

The Panopticon functions as a kind of laboratory of power. Thanks to its mechanisms of observation, it gains in efficiency and in the ability to penetrate into men’s behaviour; knowledge follows the advances of power, discovering new objects of knowledge over all the surfaces on which power is exercised.[6]

The formulation of the concept of the Panopticon involves not only seeing without being seen, but also a mechanism that imposes both their differences and their resemblances upon the subjects. So the subject’s difference from other subjects is itself externally constituted, but is also internal to the subject. The subject is the product of the mechanism in which the subject finds/loses itself, and participates in the setting of the trap. Some subjects are produced in such a way as to act on an illusory sense of consciousness, that they are in control of their lives and events surrounding them, that they are freely choosing their destiny, when in fact all the rules and possibilities of action are always already set. In a panoptic mechanism taking on passive and submissive roles brings wealth, love, health, and even happiness. In a panoptic mechanism everyone is a slave, but some are less so than the others. In a panoptic mechanism submissiveness brings power. The system is such that the subject, to feel secure, takes on a passive role. In return the subject is recognized as worthy of a higher step on the social ladder, which brings an illusionary sense of security. The efficiency of the panoptic mechanism depends on its ability to produce submissive/adaptive/rational subjects.

Panopticomania

Burroughs’s mind works exactly like a panoptic mechanism. And I think this has been one of the major concerns of Cronenberg throughout the shooting of the Naked Lunch. What we have in the movie is a man who has been caught up in a trap that he himself set. Bill Lee projects the construct of his psyche onto the external world and it is by doing this that he finds/loses himself in the trap, dismembered. The paranoid fantasy he constructs becomes so powerful that it engulfs him causing his detachment from the external world and leading to the eventual loss of the gap between fantasy and reality. It as this point that the Real slips through and tears him apart. He, in his mind, literally becomes a slashed monster, sees himself thus, as he is not, and becomes other than himself. His becoming-other, however, is in the wrong direction, or rather results in a confusion concerning the relationship between the subject and the object.

Burroughs believed that literature gives birth to action. He also saw writing itself as an action. At the end of the film we see Bill Lee at the border on his way back to Annexia from the Interzone. Two guards ask him what his occupation is. He says he is a writer. They want him to demonstrate. He takes out the gun from his pocket. Joan is at the back of the car. It’s time for their William Tell routine. Joan puts a glass on her head. Lee misses the glass and shoots Joan on the head. The guards are satisfied. The spectator witnesses this crime and remembers the person irrelevantly looking out of the window when they were slaughtering Kafka’s K. at the end of The Trial. Who was that person? Was it God? Was it a single man? Was it all of humanity?


[1] William Burroughs, Queer (New York: Penguin, 1985)

[2] Gilles Deleuze, The Logic of Sense, trans. Mark Lester (London: Athlone, 1990), 187

[3] Deleuze, The Logic of Sense, 188

[4] William Burroughs, Letters (New York: Penguin, 1994), 286

[5] William Burroughs, Nova Express, (London: Panther, 1982), 30

[6] Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish, trans. Alan Sheridan (New York: Pantheon Books, 1977), 204

Today’s radical political (or metapolitical) theory is the offspring of a contorted dialectic of defeat and reinvention.1 Though it is common to take contemporary ideas on emancipation and political subjectivity at face value, many of the defining characteristics of these recent writings are obscured if we fail to address how they emerged out of a reckoning with the failure or  distortion of Marxist politics, and, moreover, if we disregard the extent to which they maintain an underlying commitment to the Marxist impulse whence they arose.

The mode of separation, as it were, from the organisational and theoretical tenets of Marxism (in whichever guise) can tell us a lot about the present resources and limitations of theoretical contributions to the contemporary thinking of politics which drew initial sustenance from that tradition, even if they are now allegedly “beyond” Marx and Marxism. This is certainly the case with the work of Alain Badiou, whose knotty relationship to his own Marxist-Leninist militancy and to Marxist theory has recently become the object of rich and detailed investigation, above all in several essays by Bruno Bosteels. Bosteels’ characterisation of Badiou’s metapolitical trajectory in terms of “post-Maoism’2 already suggests that what makes Badiou’s theoretical biography distinctive is at a considerable remove from the entire “post-Marxist” tendency, chiefly encapsulated in Laclau and Mouffe’s Hegemony and Socialist Strategy, and persuasively dismantled in Ellen Meiksins Wood’s The Retreat from Class.3 Having said that, the echoes of a common “post-structuralist” theoretical conjuncture, and a critique of (or separation from) “thick” Hegelian-Marxist versions of dialectics and social ontology, might make one suspect that “the theoretical edifices of Laclau and Badiou are united by a deep homology”.4 This “deep homology”, which Zizek identifies in the notion of a contingent, subjective rupture of ontological closure, is nevertheless offset, still according to Zizek, by a fundamental divergence, inasmuch as, in the last instance, Badiou’s “post-Marxism” has nothing whatsoever to do with the fashionable deconstructionist dismissal of the alleged Marxist “essentialism”; on the contrary, he is unique in radically rejecting the deconstructionist doxa as a new form of pseudo-thought, as a contemporary version of sophism”.5 Rather than either homology, or frontal opposition, it might be more precise to argue that Badiou’s post-Maoism and the post-Marxism of Laclau et al. intersect in manners that generate, from the peculiar perspective of contemporary radical thought, a kind of “family resemblance” effect, but that, when push comes to shove, they are really indifferent to one another, born of divergent assessments of the end or crisis of Marxism. To a certain extent, they connect the same dots but the resulting pictures differ radically. In order better to delineate the specific difference of Badiou’s project, and of the problems that generated it, it is of considerable interest to examine the period between the highest speculative product of Badiou’s heterodox Maoism, Théorie du sujet (1982), and L’être et l’événement (1988), in particular the book Peut-on penser la politique?, published in 1985, which is to say contemporaneously with Laclau and Mouffe’s Hegemony.

Like many post-Marxists, and indeed anticommunists, Badiou attacks the “metaphysics” that contaminate Marxist politics. In a Heideggerian pastiche, he even describes Marxism-Leninism as the “metaphysical epoch of Marxist political ontology”.6 Most “deconstructions” of the Marxist canon have looked for this metaphysics in Marx’s supposed reductionist “economism” or in what they take to be an imaginary constitution of the social, and of class structure in particular, whose correlate is the putative transparency of the post-revolutionary social bond. While some of these points may be registered in Badiou’s texts from the mid-eighties, the emphasis is firmly on a conceptual dyad that persists even in more recent works like Metapolitics. This is the distinction between politics and the political. The thesis that lies at the core of Badiou’s call to counter the supposed “crisis” of Marxism through its “destruction” and “recomposition”, is that Marxism has succumbed to the homogenising political fiction that imagines the possibility of measuring, anticipating and representing political action. According to this framework, “the political has never been anything but the fiction which politics punctures through the hole of the event”.7 One’s first impression is of a substantial overlap with Laclau in terms of the notions of working class, proletariat or people as fictions of the social bond, signifying fictions in which political action could find its guarantee. Indeed, the fundamental political fiction for Badiou is that of the “alliance of the social relation and its measure” (where, as the treatment of the concept of “state” in Being and Event suggests, measure is equivalent to representation). However, from the idea whereby the crisis of the political reveals that (in his vocabulary) all sets are inconsistent,8 Badiou does not draw the customary post-Marxist lessons regarding the transcendental horizon of discursively generated identities and the a priori of antagonism as an intractable impediment to social revolution. In other words, he does not espouse the post-Marxist mix of strategic populism, sociological description, discursive ontology and cynical liberalism. Rather, the assault on the fiction of the social, and on Marxism’s foundational commitment to a critique of political economy, is viewed by Badiou as the occasion for a renovation, and a kind of purification, of the politics of emancipation. Marxism, according to Peut-on penser la politique?, is unable to critique its own critique of political economy,9 leaving its original political impetus cloaked and perverted, binding it to the mediations, however antagonistic, of economic and social relations. The maintenance of categories of totality and system within this approach is what imprisons the encounter and creation of a politics in the fiction of the political, which always comes down to “the alliance of the social relation and its measure”.10 Marxism – this is Badiou’s verdict – was destroyed by its history, the subordination of politics to the fiction of a social measure. The political is a kind of metaphorical cloaking of the hiatus between state and civil society,  representation and presentation. The aim of an emancipatory politics should not lie in the creation of a new bond; the inconsistency of the social does not open onto ever-renegotiated (and formally identical) disputes over its content, but on the idea of an autonomy and heterogeneity of politics, which occurs at a remove from any relational dialectic: “What is dissipated is the thesis of an essence of the relations internal to the city, an essence representable in the exercise of a sovereignty, be it the dictatorship of the slaves, even if the relation is that of civil war within the class structure”.11

So, while there is a convergence or homology around a certain anti-essentialism, what follows from Badiou’s own attack on essential relations is a link between inconsistency and event, which still maintains an emancipatory, rationalist reference to transmissible decision and a communist reference to the generic (in the axiom of equality) – rather than a generalised undecidability oscillating between a sociologistic account of discursive plurality and a political ontology of fundamental antagonisms. In other words, the “destruction” of the political fiction that Badiou diagnoses within metaphysical Marxism is not an opportunity to affirm the pluralism of political  struggles, but rather to argue simultaneously for their singularity and their prescriptive homogeneity. Badiou insists, during this period, in writing of the recomposition of Marxism, in putting his work under the aegis of “Marxist politics” because of the unsurpassable character of the Marxist hypothesis, the hypothesis of a politics of non-domination which is not reducible to the state. Rescinding the fiction of the political, from within Marxism, is presented as a kind of prolegomenon to the emancipation of a (Marxist) politics. In Peut-on penser la politique? we can thus observe, in a quasi-deductive manner, the passage from an internal dislocation of Marxism to a metapolitical thinking of the event: “the determination of the essence of politics, unable to find a guarantee either in structure (inconsistency of sets, unbinding), nor sense (History does not make a whole), has no other benchmark than the event”. Note that it is through this “ultra-one” of the event, that Badiou maintains “the essence of politics’: “The firmness of essentialisation rests on the precariousness of what happens.’12

Keeping this move in mind, we can elucidate a number of supplementary differences with the ideological attitude of post-Marxism, as well as shed some light on the direction taken by Badiou’s further work. A particularly significant issue in this regard involves the difference between an ontology of the multiple and the kind of pluralist notion of hegemony put forward in post-Marxism. Whilst in both instances the undermining of unity (at the level of class identity and of party leadership, for instance, as well as in terms of the category of social totality) is used to articulate a movement beyond the supposedly Hegelian or totalising character of Marxist theory, Badiou’s set theoretical meontology of the multiple is of a wholly different order than the discursive pluralism of Laclau et al. – indeed, the theme of the generic, running (explicitly or otherwise) through the whole of Badiou’s work from the 1980s onwards, can be understood in terms of the need to maintain communism as an intrinsic property of truth and subjective fidelity. This is not an immanent critique of Marxism as a science of capitalism and revolution, but a displacement to a dissimilar practical and theoretical framework (one in which politics and philosophy are de-sutured, as Badiou’s 1989 Manifesto for Philosophy proposes) in order to sustain the retention of a minimal Marxism conjoining the hypothesis of non-domination with the rational identification of the sites of subversion, without trapping politics in a teleological, revolutionary or programmatic framework. We will return to the question of whether maintaining the name Marxism is tenable once these theoretical options have been taken – especially bidding farewell to the concept of revolution. For the time being, it is worth noting that the emphasis on the subjective element in Marxist politics – already a prominent trait in Badiou’s Maoism and still present in the 1980s concern with political “forms of consciousness’13 – is fully at odds with the post-Marxist concern with “subject-positions” and the hegemonic negotiations of “identity”. This anti-essentialist discursive ontology of the (empty) social is absent from Badiou, whose concern, as demonstrated quite consistently even in more recent books like the Ethics, is not with the political interplay between identity and difference. Rather, Badiou’s thought works at the interface between, on the one hand, the fact of identity-and-difference as a feature of the encyclopaedia of knowledges,14 and, on the other hand, the production of the Same.15

Despite the deceptive resonance, this is not to be confused with the two logics of Laclau and Mouffe, differential and equivalential. Why? Because in the latter these two logics remain transitive to one another and map out the transcendental horizon of political dispute, whilst in Badiou the production of sameness in the political field is a real production of truth which does not involve the strategic rearrangement and occupation of the language of the situation, but an organised subtraction from its very terms.

Instead of shifting the terrain from that of (the taking of) political power, of classical revolutionary politics, to the domain of discourse (the post-Marxist strategy whose fundamental “electoralism” is persuasively ferreted out by Wood), the shift made by Badiou and his political comrades is marked by the attempt, in order to maintain the hypothesis of non-domination, to consolidate and purify the subject of politics. In a distinction that would obviously strike the likes of Wood as spurious, inasmuch as it characteristically bypasses the level of class, for Badiou it is not the state but proletarian capacity which lies at the heart of Marxist politics. Regarding the question of class struggle and antagonism as a crucial node in the so-called crisis of Marxism, and the possibility of a “party of a new type”, Paul Sandevince (a.k.a. Sylvain Lazarus) writes in Le Perroquet (the publication of Badiou’s group, the UCFML), that: “For Lenin, the essential is not struggle, but “antagonism against the entirety of the existent political and social order”.” This is read fundamentally as a warning against the logic of the absorption of the party into the state, whilst the “other path” involves assigning “the process of politics to the masses/State contradiction grasped in terms of consciousness [conscience]”.16 This is one of the sources of Badiou’s own insistence on politics viewed not as strategy for power, or a way of ordering the social, but as an organised practice of thought (a “truth procedure”, in the later work). The link between the hypothesis of nondomination, the egalitarian and organised capacity for thought, and a separation from the state thus appears as one of the key tenets of this self-avowed “Marxist politics”. This gives us an inkling as to why the appellations post-Maoism or post-Leninism (the one favoured by the various authors in Le Perroquet17) are more appropriate than post-Marxism. Having already decided that Marxist politics is not the consequence of a critical analysis of capitalism, but is rather the means, within capitalist conditions, for the production of communism (so that the critique of political economy is wholly subsidiary to the project of emancipation), the direction taken in the 1980s by Badiou and his comrades is primarily born out of the crisis of the Marxist political subject (i.e. the party), and not, as with “traditional” post-Marxism, out of a critique of the metaphysical tenets and sociological shortcomings of Marxism as a science of capitalism. If Badiou’s Théorie du sujet had declared that the every subject is political and that subject equals party, what is at stake in this period (1982-88) which oscillates between the option for a “party of a new type” and that of “politics without a party’?

Jameson contends that Marxism qua science of capitalism gives rise to post-Marxism at moments of systemic crisis. Whatever the links between such crises and forms of political organisation, it is clear that for Badiou it is the party qua subject which is the focus of the crisis, not the ability of “Marxism” to cope with social and economic transformations, or the shifts and turns in class composition. Indeed, Badiou is generally rather sanguine about the Marxist understanding of capitalism, and does not seem to think that Marx has really been surpassed in this domain. In any instance, Badiou is immunised against the stance according to which the failure of social ontology or economic analysis would debilitate Marxist politics. Indeed, he mocks this very possibility in a vicious piece caricaturing the “old Marxist”, the one who waits for the proper study of “social formations” before acting, who thinks that “one of these days the “workers” movement” will give us something to talk about”.18 To the contrary:

Marx starts, absolutely, not from the architecture of the social, in which he will, after the fact, deploy his assurance and his guarantee, but from the interpretation-cut of a symptom of social hysteria, uprisings and workers’ parties. (…) For the symptom that hystericises the social to be thus grasped, without pinning it to the fiction of the political, proletarian political capacity – as a radical hypothesis of truth and a reduction to fiction of every foregoing notion of the political – must be excepted from any approach via the communitarian and the social.19

By now, Badiou’s philosophy is renowned as a philosophy of the event. But, in terms of what I referred to above as the dialectic of defeat and reinvention, could we also say that there are events of closure, failure, saturation? Without entering into doctrinal details, Badiou does overtly mark his treatment of the “destruction and recomposition” of Marxism in terms of what he terms “the end of referents”, a position presaged by an article of the same name in Le Perroquet, penned by Sandevince-Lazarus.20 This passage through history is inexorable, inasmuch as “Marxism alone presented itself as a revolutionary political doctrine which, if not historically confirmed, was at least historically active”.21 If Marxist politics, in its Marxist-Leninist phase, was crystallised around the figure of the party as subject, and suffused by an essential historicity, then this figure is seen to suffer from the collapse of its three primary referents: (1) the statist referent: the actual existence of Marxist states, as emblems of the possible victory of a Marxist politics, and of “the domination of non-domination’22; (2) wars of national liberation as an other emblem of actually victorious Marxist politics, and the “fusion of the national principle and the popular principle’23 in the invention of new ways of linking politics and war; (3) the workers’ movement, especially in its incarnation in “working class parties” with an explicit Marxist reference, “mixed figures of a distant revolutionary Idea and the proximity of an oppositional activity”.24

Once again, it is not the analytical force of Marxism qua science of capital that is paramount for Badiou, but the collapse of its singularity as a revolutionary thinking and a politics that was fundamentally “self-referential” (its instances were, to various degrees, homogeneous with its theory) and massively historically inscribed. Though Badiou will always maintain (as he does in D’un désastre obscur) the “eternity of communism”, what is at stake here is the historicity of Marxism and the impossibility, in his view, for Marxism to continue to draw any value from its actual history in the present. As Badiou puts it, “its credit has run out”.25 Note that, contrary to all specimens of post-Marxism, this has nothing to do with the explanatory capacity of Marxism (Badiou treats it strictly as a politics, not a doctrine, and only secondarily and strategically as an analysis of the social).

The “crisis of Marxism” is to be located in the collapse of its real referents: it is an immanent, and thoroughly political crisis, for which the analytical force of the critique of political economy remains of little import. Along with this collapse of referents, this political death, which seems to suggest the separation of a communist hypothesis from moribund Marxist politics, Badiou also points to certain symptoms – larval and obscure political subjects which indicate that if a Marxist politics is to be “recomposed”, it can no longer be so in terms of political processes that take it as an explicit reference-point. Marxism has not only lost its historical foothold, it is no longer an internal referent for nascent forms of emancipatory politics. This is what is meant by the expatriation of Marxism, as the key aspect of the crisis that we must destructively traverse (let us not forget that for the Badiou of Théorie du sujet, the becoming of a subject, and of a proletarian subject especially, is intimately linked to its own destruction, so that the call to be heeded here is for Marxism to truly subjectivise itself, after having gone through the “subjective destitution” of its referents). In a piece from 1983, Badiou declares:

Today, the referents of Marxist politics are not Marxist. There is a fundamental delocalisation of Marxism. Previously, there was a kind of selfreference, because Marxism drew its general credit from States that called themselves Marxist, from wars of national liberation under the direction of Marxist parties, from workers’ movements framed by Marxist unionists. But this referential apparatus is gone. The great mass historical pulsations no longer refer to Marxism, after, at least, the end of the cultural revolution in China: see Poland, or Iran. Therefore, there is an expatriation of Marxism. Its historical territoriality is no longer transitive to it. The era of self-reference is closed. Marxism no longer has a historical home. All the political referents endowed with a worker and popular life are, with regard to Marxism, atypical, delocalised, errant. Any orthodox Marxist today will object that the Polish movement is national and religious, that the Iranian movement is religious and fanatical, that there is nothing there that fundamentally matters for Marxism. And this orthodox Marxism will be nothing but an empty object in the process of the destruction of Marxism.26

This theme of expatriation thus allows Badiou to maintain, albeit in a problematic register, the reference to “worker and popular life”, as well as the crucial (communist) hypothesis of non-domination, in the face of some of the very events that served as grist to the post-Marxist mill. By thinking in terms of the dislocation of Marxist politics and the tentative invention of new forms of consciousness, rather than in terms of the analytic and ideological failure of Marxism, Badiou can turn the political conjuncture of the 1980s – the death throes of historical communism and the birth of heterogeneous political forms – into an opportunity for the recomposition of a politics of emancipation.27 Crucially, this is not done in relation to a return to logics of electoral alliance or the articulation of group demands outside of the working class referent, but in terms of the possibility of a new workers” politics at a distance from the State, a non-classist, non-systemic experience of proletarian capacity. Rather than seeing the “crisis of Marxism” as a chance for singing the praises of political plurality, Badiou seems to grasp in it the possibility of a further singularisation of emancipatory politics. The wager then, is to look for the traits of a new politics of anti-statist emancipation in these mass symptoms, these hysterias of the social. Though it transcends the limits of this paper, it would be fruitful to follow the attempts – ultimately frustrated by the religious and populist sclerosis of the Polish and Iranian situations – made in Le Perroquet to track moments of organisational invention and worker capacity in non-Marxist political scenarios. Contrary to post-Marxism, which sees in the rise of “new social movements” a radical-democratic pluralism beyond universalist28 and communist hypotheses, Badiou’s post-Leninism is committed, from the 1980s onwards, to producing a metapolitical framework for thinking the persistence of communism as a minimal, universalising hypothesis even in political scenarios where the name “communism” is anathema.

The requirement that the destruction and recomposition of Marxist politics be internal – which is to say not dictated by its supposed explanatory shortcomings,  its political disasters, or novel sociological facts – is motivated by an appraisal of the  subjectivity that dominates the post-revolutionary Restoration of the virtues of liberalism and parliamentary democracy.29 The peculiarity of the reactive (or renegade) subjects that, from the mid-seventies onwards, publicised the return to liberty on the basis of their own failures lies instead in the fact that they perceived the “crisis of Marxism” simply as the subjective discovery of an objective fact (crystallised by Badiou in the typical utterances: “we tried, it was a catastrophe” and “I fail, therefore I am’): the fact of the impossibility of emancipation. But for Badiou all that these failures and disasters prove is that the opposition to existent society is a “difficult” problem. Just like a mathematician who fails in a proof does not thereby declare as inexistent the problem that proof stemmed from, so a political militant does not make failure into either a necessity or a virtue: “So that what is presented to us as a conjoined progress of morality (liberating us from the totalitarian phantasm) and of realism (seeing the objective virtues of the existent state of things) is in fact a confession of incapacity. The essence of reneging is incompetence”.30 Badiou here intervenes directly in the anti-Marxist philosophy of the Restoration, which sees the defence of the “negative liberties” at the heart of parliamentary democracy (or capitalist parliamentarianism, as he will later dub it). He repeats the idea of a termination of the Marxist-Leninist sequence, of its arrangement of certain political factors,31 but, crucially, contends that we cannot disregard the fact that antagonism to the status quo is still at the heart of any politics of emancipation and that a return to the Enlightenment thematic of liberty is simply insufficient, since the question of equality, which determines “a current stage of the political question”, cannot be evaded.

The question, in the legacy and destruction of what he dubs the Marxist/Leninist “montage”, is how to practice, under the conditions of a nondespotic State, a politics whose axiom is equality: a contemporary politics beyond the modern debate between the State of right and law (parliamentary constitutional liberal democracy) and tyranny. We cannot turn away from “contemporary” politics, initially marked by the entrance of the signifier “worker” into the political field, for the sake of a merely “modern” anti-despotic politics of democracy. Following Badiou’s hazardous “de-socialisation” of Marxism, however, equality must not be thought in terms of equality of “material positions” (‘economistically’), but in strictly political terms. The maxim of equality becomes the following: “what must the world be such that an inegalitarian statement is impossible within it?” Badiou here draws a crucial difference between the modern politics of liberty, which, ever since Saint-Just, functions in a symbolic register, as a form of non-prohibition, and a contemporary politics of equality, whose aim is to really make impossible the production of inegalitarian statements (this will remain the chief characteristic of Badiou’s later concept of the generic). What is surprising here, especially in terms of the earlier commitment to a communist dialectic of destruction, is the idea of a complementarity between the politics of liberty and the politics of equality, along with the stipulation of the general problem of equality in “times of peace”, as detached from the revolutionary problematic of power, war and the state: “under the general conditions of a nondespotic State, how can one think and practice a politics whose overarching philosophical category is equality?’32

A politics of equality, in this framework, works within the symbolic politics of prohibition for the sake of real-impossible equality. It is as if, albeit “at a distance”, Badiou sees the project of emancipation as conditioned to some extent by the apolitical horizon of a liberal polity. This bears two interesting, and problematic consequences. The first is that politics cannot be primarily or directly concerned with the betterment of the polity itself, since “politics must be thinkable as a conjoined excess over the State and civil society, even if these are good or excellent”.33

But the second consequence lies in the implicit suggestion that the politics of emancipation, having rescinded the project of power (in short, the dictatorship of the proletariat) is externally conditioned (‘in times of peace’) by a kind of liberal frame. Here lies the entire ambiguity of Badiou’s later problematic of “politics at a distance from the State’34 – which both maintains the antagonism against “existing society” and, to an extent, the problem of how to change it, but (perhaps in a simply provisional way) combines this seemingly stark antagonism with the toleration of the symbolic framework provided by the very same society: “We therefore continue to demand modern freedom (symbolic according to nonprohibition) from within which we work towards contemporary equality (real, according to the impossible)”.35 Is this to say that Marxist politics can only persist from within a liberal envelope? Can we “reformulate from within politics the synthetic vision of the backwards and nefarious character of our society and its representations” and maintain the “difficult” problem of “changing existing society”, if we do not unequivocally pose the problem of the tension between liberty (in the state) and equality (in politics), together with their mediation by issues of power and authority? To put it otherwise, can a post-Leninist radical politics of equality afford to be entirely post-revolutionary?

At times, Badiou’s 1980s “expatriation” of Marxism, which already presupposes a distance between Marxist politics and the Marxist critique of political economy, seems entirely to dissolve any consistency characterising the Marxist project, casting doubt on the very possibility of holding onto the term Marxism. After all, won’t Badiou, in Metapolitics, peremptorily declare that “Marxism doesn’t exist”,36 in the sense that its political instances – its “historical modes” to use Sylvain Lazarus’s terminology – are absolutely inconsistent? And yet, throughout the 1980s, prior to the publication of Being and Event, Badiou seems to maintain the liminal validity of the notion of “Marxist politics”, at least in the sense that it is only by rigorously undergoing its destruction (and not its ironic deconstruction) that a new politics of emancipation will be “recomposed”. What is at stake in this retention, in extremis, of the name of Marxism (or of “Marxist politics’)? If anything, the Anglophone vogue for post-Marxism was driven by a rejection of the articulation between social class and revolutionary politics, which reduced the idea of the proletariat to a mere contested and hegemonically posited identity among others.

Once again, despite surface similarities, the move beyond class operated by Badiou and his cohorts is based on an intra-political and historical judgment, i.e. on the idea of a lost efficacy of the “classist” mode of politics (dominated by the category of contradiction, and the transitivity between society and politics).37 This also why Badiou declares that there are more things in the crisis of Marxism than anti-Marxism can dream of – in the main because anti-Marxism merely registers an objective crisis without being able to think through its primary, subjective aspect.38This means, on the one hand, that an orthodox defence of Marxism comes down to repeating the old refutation of old objections, therefore remaining on the terrain of anti-Marxism, and, on the other, that the crisis must be experienced not as a way of merely pluralising or dissolving Marxism, but as an opportunity to radicalise its emancipatory, egalitarian core.39 This  radicalisation or purification of Marxism into a minimal, heterodox Marxist politics (what Badiou has elsewhere referred to as a communism of singularities), is all the more interesting to us inasmuch as it explicitly wards off the possibility of a post-Marxist turn. For whilst Badiou and his comrades appear definite about the end of the working class as a sociopolitical class (making no such claims for the end of social class per se), they are equally definite that no emancipatory politics can bypass workers.

This plea for a minimal Marxism can be observed in two steps. The first involves what Badiou, explicitly harking back to the Kant of the Critique of Pure Reason, calls a “refutation of idealism”. If Marxist politics is detached from the social as the “places of bonds” [les lieux des liens], what prevents the kind of idealist pluralism according to which any site and any subject, unbound from the requirements of transitivity with an ordered and ontologically grounded social structure, can be the locus of emancipation? Badiou is very aware that having abandoned a dialectics of social latency and political subjectivation he cannot depend on the “substantial presupposition” of a political privilege of workers. And yet, he knows that a “maximal” interpretation of his political axiomatic could lead to declaring the emergence of a political subject to be possible at any point. To counter this prospect, Badiou engages in a minimal inscription of the egalitarian wager-intervention on an event, in what he calls “prepolitical situations”.40 Whilst this minimal, anticipatory interregnum between the social and politics does not allow a pre-emptive construction of political subjectivity (e.g. the party of the working class), it allows, by analogy with Kant, a merely negative reductio ad absurdum of the maximal claim of political contingency (any subjects, anywhere).

Forbidding himself any substantive resort to social ontology, Badiou nevertheless wants to argue that to elude “worker singularities” in the formation of a political subject would be to suppose that a politics of emancipation could deploy itself without including in its trajectory any of the places or points where the dominated are the majority of the inhabitants. Whence the following “theorem”:

Political intervention under current conditions, i.e. modern politics, cannot strategically avoid being faithful to events, whose site is worker or popular. Let us suppose that it can. Since the axiomatic hypothesis is that of a politics of emancipation, that is, of a non-statist subjective politics under the aegis of non-domination, it would follow that this politics could deploy itself without ever including in its immediate field places where the mass (whatever its number) of the dominated – in modern conditions – materially exists, i.e. in factories, in the estates in the banlieues, in immigrant housing, in the offices of repetitive IT work. Especially if we consider factories, the exception would be radical, since we can easily establish that factories are separated from civil society and from the moderating laws that sustain its social relations. According to this supposition, the politics of non-domination would only exist, for the dominated themselves, in the form of representation, since no event giving rise to an intervention would include them in terms of its site.41

The point is not simply that an emancipatory politics must include the lowest rungs, the excluded, the oppressed, but that they and their “site” must be directly involved – in other words “presented” – by the emergent political subject. Otherwise, we remain at the level of the State, or, in Badiou’s politico-philosophical terms, of representation. So this refutation of idealism does not simply attack (or literally reduce to absurdity) the “new social movements” ideology according to which emancipation may take place anywhere, anytime, by anyone. It also undermines any Left (or even Marxist) notion that the dominated may be represented in a political programme without partaking of political action themselves.42

It is moving from this idea of a pre-political “site”, and warding off both an idealist pluralism and any kind of “speculative leftism”,43 that Badiou will give a metaontological solution to these problems of Marxist politics in Being and Event. Starting from the intuition of a reductio ad absurdum of anti-worker political idealism, Badiou initially develops his theory of the event-site – a crucial component of his mature philosophy – in terms of the factory and of the worker as the subjective figure of politics. This is the second step, as it were, in the argument for a Marxist politics that would be capable of following its own metaphysical destruction. In “The Factory as Event-Site”, a text published in Le Perroquet in 1987 and originally intended for inclusion in Being and Event, we encounter both a potent distillate of Badiou’s overall doctrine and his last explicit attempt to defend, in however minimal a fashion, a notion of Marxist politics.44 That article’s argument is philosophically far more intricate and challenging than the prescriptive and axiomatic positions rehearsed hitherto, showing a speculative daring far greater than the clever repetition of Kant’s refutation. In a sense, what my own presentation has sought to do is to demonstrate the internal theoretical and political necessity leading to this work on the event-site and, in so doing, to show how Badiou’s intimate confrontation with Marxism is at the very foundation (albeit a vanishing one, since he eventually chose to omit this “example’) of the project crystallised in Being and Event. A closer investigation of the links between “The Factory as Event-Site” and Badiou’s further work should of course be carried out, but for the purposes of this paper, I would simply like to indicate the work that the concept of the event-site does in Badiou’s attempt to maintain a minimal, liminal Marxism.

Far more than any of the other texts in Le Perroquet, this excised fragment of Being and Event pleads for a return to Marx (and Engels) that would even seem to bypass the post-Leninist reference. In “The Factory as Event-Site” Badiou puts his metaontological and metapolitical investigation under the aegis of two  conceptual inheritances of the Marxian thinking of worker politics, which the attempt to “recompose” a Marxist politics seeks to weave together. These are the void, which in the Marxist apparatus is connected to the peculiarity of the proletarian (having nothing to sell but his labour-power, the proletarian is the bearer of a generic capacity), and the site, which Badiou links to Engels’s inquiries into the localised conditions whereby exploitation is organised and countered. In a pithy declaration, Badiou will define his philosophical undertaking precisely in terms of a different articulation, a different dialectic, of these two terms, one that moves beyond the “fictions” of orthodox Marxism: “at the very heart of the objectivist version of the necessity of a worker reference, we encounter two terms, the void and the site, which as we will see only acquire their full meaning once we decentre toward the subjective the vision of politics”.45 Without entering into the details of Badiou’s exposition, we should note that in asserting that a political event can only take place if it takes into account the factory as event-site, Badiou aims to provide a kind of minimal objectivity (i.e. another refutation of idealism) without making the intervention of politics and of political subjectivation transitive to a socio-economic datum. As he puts it: “The paradoxical statement I am defending is finally that the factory, by which I mean the factory as a workers” place, belongs without doubt to the socio-historical presentation (it is counted-as-one within it), but not the workers, to the extent that they belong to the factory. So that the factory – as a workers” place – is not included in society, and the workers (of a factory) do not form a pertinent “part”,  available for State counting.’46This is the sense in which the factory is not the hidden abode of a production that could be reappropriated and disalienated, but a pre-political site “at the edge of the void” (of the unpresented fact of domination), into which politics can intervene. The correlate of this notion is that the (proletarian) void itself is detached from an expressive logic of (dis)alienation and rearticulated to the notion of a production of the Same, a production of communism no longer immanently bound to a communism of production.47It is on the basis of the speculative trajectory laid out in “The Factory as Event-Site” that Badiou can then reassert his (contorted, heterodox, errant) fidelity to Marxism:

Reduced to its bare bones, Marxism is jointly the hypothesis of a politics of non-domination – a politics subtracted from the statist count of the count – and the designation of the most significant event sites of modernity, those whose singularity is maximal, which are worker sites. From this twofold gesture there follows that the intervening and organised experimentation of the hypothesis must ceaselessly prepare itself for the consideration of these sites, and that the worker reference is a feature of politics, without which one has already given up subtracting oneself from the State count. That is the reason why it remains legitimate to call oneself a Marxist, if one maintains that politics is possible.48

To the extent that Badiou’s subsequent work remains more or less wholly consistent with the research programme of this 1987 article, we could consequently hazard to read it as an attempt to think Marxism “reduced to its bare bones”.

Inasmuch as the above has added some intelligibility to the vicissitudes of Badiou’s (meta)political thinking, its leave-taking from Marxism-Leninism and its (re)commencement of Marxism, I hope it has also given rise to certain perplexities which can be made to resonate with the rest of Badiou’s work and its ongoing political interpretations. Simply by way of conclusion, I would like to touch on two problems that are especially acute in this phase of Badiou’s production. The first concerns the manner in which Badiou remains faithful to a certain intuition of Marx’s about proletarian subjectivity and its political dynamics. Badiou, after all, defines the continuity-in-separation between the Marxian legacy and his (re)commencement as follows: “we (re)formulate the hypothesis of a proletarian political capacity”.49 However, the refutation of idealism and maintenance of the “worker reference” in other texts seems to demand the evacuation of any  pre-political subjective privilege to workers per se (politics must touch on their sites, but they are not latent political subjects qua workers). Can the void of the situation be equated with a political capacity? And if this capacity is only the retroactive effect of a postevental intervention (the politicisation of the factory axiomatically determines that “workers think’) is the term “capacity” really viable, considering its inescapable links to notions of disposition and potential and to the theory of (dis)alienation? I would suggest that Badiou’s philosophical conceptualisation of the concept of the generic in Being and Event may be read as an attempt to transcend what appear to be tensions in his earlier “Marxist politics” by maintaining the link between the void, equality and the subject without relying on any latency whatsoever.50

The second problem is connected to the sources, as it were, of emancipatory politics. Badiou obviously wishes to purify and politicise the concept of equality, sever its dependence on merely material criteria. But, in his allergy to the socialising fictions of orthodox Marxism, he seems to step back from contemporary criteria of politics to merely modern ones by framing his entire vision of Marxist politics in terms of the politico-philosophical concepts of exclusion, domination and representation. In a manner which is perhaps most obvious in the section on the “ontology of the site” in “The Factory as Event-Site”, Badiou seems to deny the possibility that the concept of exploitation may be an uncircumventable touchstone of any contemporary politics. As I’ve suggested elsewhere, the difference between a politics at a distance from the state and a politics against capital might lie in the fact that the latter cannot be encompassed by the question of representation, inasmuch as capitalist power, while reliant on mechanisms of representation, also works “directly” on singularities themselves, in ways that cannot be easily mapped in terms of exclusion, invisibility or domination.51 This is precisely what is at stake in the vicissitudes of the concept of value in the critique of political economy, a concept which I would suggest cannot be easily harnessed by the logic of re/presentation. The resulting (and rather formidable) challenge would be to combine the immediate politicisation of exploitation that characterises Marx’s own work,52with some of the metaontological and metapolitical tools provided by texts such as “The Factory as Event-Site”. A traversal of the logic of exploitation and its effects on our  thinking of political subjectivity would also allow us to ward off the possibility of an “aristocratic” solution, distantly reminiscent of Hannah Arendt’s republican and councilist advocacy of the autonomy of politics against the disastrous impingements of the “social question”.53 This would of course force us to face head on one of the most arresting questions raised by Badiou’s “expatriation” of Marxism: is contemporary politics (the politics of positive equality) compatible with the continuation of modern, statist politics (the politics of negative freedom)? Or must it risk being “anti-modern”, and work on equality not just at a distance from, but against the State? This is not to suggest that Marx, like a political Odysseus, may soon be repatriated, and that we, faithful Penelopes warding off our post-Marxist suitors, can finally recognise him under unfamiliar garb. More modestly, let us suggest that Badiou’s connection between the expatriation of Marxism and the (re)commencement of a Marxist politics is a salutary alternative to the quarrels between the antiquarians and the renegades, as well as a unique philosophical platform from which to (re)think Marx’s politics.

Notes

1 It is worth noting from the outset that Badiou – who does not seem to hold much truck with the term nowadays – put his work in the mid-1980s under the aegis of “radicalism”, often in terms redolent of a certain Kantian atmosphere that suffused the French debate on the retreat of the political and political judgment: “What is a radical politics, which goes to the root, which refuses the administration of the necessary, which reflects on ends, upholding and practicing justice and equality, and which nevertheless assumes the time of peace, and is not like the empty wait for a cataclysm? What is a radicalism that is at the same time an infinite task?” (Alain Badiou, Peut-on penser la politique?, Paris, Seuil, 1985, p. 106). Showing the momentary influence of Lyotard, Badiou even links his notion of an axiomatic politics to Kant’s treatment of aesthetic judgment in terms of “reflective universality” (which, we could hazard, also affects the temporality of the future perfect, which is still at work in the concept of the generic). See Peut-on penser la politique?, p. 76. It should also not be forgotten that Peut-on penser la politique?, like Lyotard’s L’enthousiasme, was occasioned by an invitation from Nancy and Lacoue-Labarthe’s Centre d’étude philosophique du politique, and is in (polemical) dialogue with the problems identified by these philosophers.

2 Bruno Bosteels, “Post-Maoism: Badiou and Politics”, positions: east asia cultures critique vol. 13, No. 3, 2005, pp. 575-634. This is arguably the most thorough engagement with Badiou’s politics to date.

3 Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe, Hegemony and Socialist Strategy, London, Verso, 1985; Ellen Meiksins Wood, The Retreat from Class: A New “True” Socialism, 2nd ed. London: Verso, 1998. As a future task, it would be very interesting indeed to gauge how well Badiou’s own post-Leninist turn would fare under Wood’s criticism – especially insofar as Wood, rather than simply rehashing “orthodox” criticism, is able, in a Marxian spirit, really to bring out the importance of the Marxian critique of political economy to a definition of such crucial concepts as freedom and equality.

4 Slavoj Zizek, The Ticklish Subject, London: Verso, 1999, p. 172.

5 Slavoj Zizek, “Psychoanalysis in Post-Marxism: The Case of Alain Badiou”, The South Atlantic Quarterly 97, 2, 1998, pp. 235-61.

6 “La figure du (re)commencement”, Le Perroquet 42, 1984, p. 8 or Alain Badiou, Peut-on penser la politique?, p. 61.

7 Peut-on penser la politique?, p. 12.

8 Peut-on penser la politique?, p. 13.

9 Peut-on penser la politique?, p. 14.

10 Ibid.

11 Peut-on penser la politique?, p. 13. See also the Mallarmé quote that Badiou adduces for this stance: “le rapport social et sa mesure momentanée, qu’on la serre ou l’allonge en vue de gouverner, est une fiction.”

12 Peut-on penser la politique?, p. 67. On the event as “ultra-one”, see Alain Badiou, Being and Event, trans. Oliver Feltham, London: Continuum, 2006, pp. 178-83.

13 See Paul Sandevince (a.k.a. Sylvain Lazarus), “Les formes de conscience” (Octobre 1980), Le Perroquet 42, 1984.

14 Being and Event, pp. 327-43.

15 Alain Badiou, Ethics, trans. Peter Hallward, London: Verso, 2001, pp. 25-7.

16“Les formes de conscience”, p. 5. UCFML refers to the “Groupe pour la formation d’une Union des communistes de France marxiste-leniniste”. In 1985, the UCFML disbanded and was succeeded by L’Organisation politique, a non-party organisation. See Hallward’s Badiou and Bosteels’s “Post-Maoism” for more detailed information.

17 This is argued in particular in Sandevince’s “La politique sous condition”, Le Perroquet 42, pp. 1-3. According to him, there is no positive meaning of Marxism-Leninism after the termination of the Cultural Revolution, and in the end “one cannot extirpate Marxism-Leninism from its Stalinist matrix”. But the line taken by Le Perroquet is that it is necessary to maintain the Leninist break or division between social being and political consciousness. Thus, while moving beyond Lenin in terms of organisation (and indeed in terms of the link between class and revolution) there is a fidelity to a kind of Leninism of capacities, of thought. Politics under condition, in Sandevince-Lazarus’ definition, is politics separated from the social. Can a certain Leninism be maintained beyond the partyform? Is the party-form a restraint on the virtuosity of political subjectivity? This of course raises the question of how political capacity can be fostered and rendered efficacious outside of the party-form.

18 Georges Peyrol (a.k.a. Alain Badiou), “30 moyens de reconnaître à coup sûr un vieux-marxiste”, Le Perroquet 29-30, 1983, p. 5. in Peut-on penser la politique?, Badiou puts the point as follows: “Communist politics must be wagered: you will never deduce it from Capital” (p. 87). Of course, it could be argued that far from signalling a caesura, this “long wager” (p. 90) is a feature of Marx’s own original thought, which never held to such a chimerical “deduction”. See Stathis Kouvelakis, “Marx et sa critique de la politique. Des révolutions de 1848 à la Commune de Paris, ou le travail de la rectification”, available at: <http://semimarx.free.fr/article.php3?id_article=8&gt;. The idea of Marxism as promoting a “deduction” of politics from the critique of Capital runs the risk of converging with the “straw-Marxism” denounced by Wood. See The Retreat from Class, p. 187.

19 Peut-on penser la politique?, p. 20. This rethinking of the notion of capacity, it should be noted, is “eventally” bound to the Polish workers’ movement of the late 1970s and early 1980s. See the section of Peut-on penser la politique? precisely entitled “Universal meaning of the Polish workers” movement”, pp. 45-8, as well as Renée Lebovici, “Shangaï et Gdansk”, Le Perroquet 29-30, and many other pieces in the same publication throughout the 1980s.

20 However, Sandevince-Lazarus’ way of posing the crisis is slightly more theoretical than historical. In fact he too designates three referents, but substitutes Marxism-Leninism itself for Badiou’s focus on anti-imperialist wars: “The referents are principally of three orders”, he writes, “the socialist State, the worker capacity to practice and formulate a revolutionary politics, and finally Marxism-Leninism”. Marxism-Leninism is also defined here as a “precarious political amalgam”, and there is a sense in some of the work in Le Perroquet of a political “return to Marx”, a (re)commencement of Marx that would sublate the Leninist experience. Moreover, Sandevince-Lazarus also emphasises that this is a political crisis: “Marxism is in its nature a politics – as Marx himself clearly specifies in his letter to Weydemeyer – communist politics (for communism, the abolition of the wage, the reduction of great differences, the extinction of the State and political parties), a communist politics that is irreducibly antagonistic to bourgeois politics (for capitalism, imperialism, and the State). If there is a crisis of Marxism, it is the crisis of a politics, of a politics for communism, what we call, strictly speaking, Marxist politics.” “La fin des références” (May 1982), Le Perroquet 42, 1984, p. 10. But see especially “Le Marxisme comme politique, Interview, par Le Perroquet, du Sécretariat central de l’U.C.F.”, Le Perroquet 29-30, 1983, pp. 1-3. The whole issue, under the heading “Un Perroquet-Marx”, marking the hundredth anniversary of Marx’s death, is devoted to these questions.

21 Peut-on penser la politique?, p. 26.

22 Peut-on penser la politique?, p. 27. Post-Leninism is thus defined by the break with “reason of state” in all its forms, a break that draws its sustenance from the founding drive of Marxism itself: “It is not the State which is the principle of universality of Marxist politics, but rather the communist process in the deployment of class struggles and revolutions”. “La fin des références”, p. 10.

23 Peut-on penser la politique?, p. 28.

24 Peut-on penser la politique?, p. 29.

25 Ibid.

26 “La figure du (re)commencement”, p. 1. Badiou also refers to this issue in terms of the separation of Marxism from the history of the “marxisation” of the workers’ movement, now that it is no longer “a power of structuration of real history”, meaning that politics may be freed from “the marxed [marxisée] form of the political philosopheme”. Hence the radical caesura vis-à-vis the previous periodisation of Marxist politics, and the proposal of the figure of  (re)commencement. See Peut-on penser la politique?, pp. 58-59.

27 Another crucial moment is of course to be registered in the death-knell of the sequence begun in the Cultural Revolution. See Bosteels’s “Post-Maoism” and Badiou’s Le Monde editorial on the trial of the Gang of Four, “The Triumphant Restoration”, trans. Alberto Toscano, positions: east asia cultures critique vol. 13, No. 3, 2005, pp. 659-62.

28 See, for instance, this characteristic pronouncement: “The discourse of radical democracy is no longer the discourse of the universal; the epistemological niche from which “universal” classes and subjects spoke had been eradicated, and it has been replaced by a polyphony of voices, each of which constructs its own irreducible discursive identity. This point is decisive: there is no radical and plural democracy without renouncing the discourse of the universal and its implicit assumption of a privileged point of access to “the truth”, which can be reached only by a limited number of subjects.” Hegemony and Socialist Strategy, p. 191.

29 Badiou’s condemnation of the past two decades as a new post-revolutionary “Restoration” is summed up in Le siécle, Paris: Seuil, 2005.

30 Alain Badiou, “À bas la société existante! (1)”, Le Perroquet 69, 1987, p. 2. See also the section in Peut-on penser la politique? entitled “The reactive meaning of contemporary anti-Marxism”, pp. 48-51.

31 “It is certain that [the Marxist] montage is exhausted. There are no longer socio-political subjects, the revolutionary theme is desubjectivated, History has no objective meaning. All of a sudden, the antagonism of two camps is no longer the right projection for global hostility to existing society”. “À bas la société existante! (1)”, p. 3.

32 Ibid.

33 Peut-on penser la politique?, p. 20.

34 Metapolitics, trans. Jason Barker, London: Verso, 2005, pp. 150-1. It is worth noting that Badiou does maintain that this thematic of distance is not simply placed “after” historical communism, but is intrinsically post-Leninist. In an interview following the publication of Being and Event, he declares that his “horizon remains that of the withering away of the State” and is driven by the attempt to generate an “intra-popular democratic process”. See Alain Badiou, “L’être, l’événement, la militance” (interview with Nicole-Édith Thévenin), Futur Antérieur 8, 1991, available at: <http://multitudes.samizdat.net/L-etrel-evenement-la-militance.html&gt;. But this withering away is detached from the question of taking power, as the state is transformed into a non-political referent in the field of politics, so that an intrapopular process does not issue into a Leninist notion of proletarian democracy, which would require not a distance from, but the smashing of the State.

35 “À bas la société existante! (1)”, p. 3. In the French revolutionary triad, equality always maintains precedence for Badiou. As “the authority of the Same”, it trumps freedom (which is too close to opinion) and fraternity (which flirts too much with the substance of community). In brief, the virtue of equality lies in its abstraction – the very abstraction that Badiou will describe in terms of a prescriptive axiom of equality. See “Philosophie et politique”, in Conditions, Paris: Seuil, 1991, p. 248.

36 Metapolitics, p. 58.

37 See Sylvain Lazarus, “Dans quel temps de la politique sommes nous? (éditorial)”, Le Journal Politique 2, March 2005, available at: <http://www.orgapoli.net/article.php3?id_article=5 7>. This theme of “classism” is dealt with in numerous interventions in Le Perroquet, its successor publication La Distance politique, and now in Le Journal politique.

38 Peut-on penser la politique?, p. 51.

39 Which is why Badiou declares, paradoxically, that “the contemporary being of what will articulate the new figure of politics, and which will still be able to call itself “Marxism” in being able to continue the emancipatory hypothesis, is nothing other than the complete thinking of its destruction” (ibid.). Badiou can say this to the extent that Marxism has always been for him synonymous with political militancy and not social analysis; it is not a doctrine, but “the life of a hypothesis”, and this life can take the form of a protracted process of destruction and recomposition.

40“I call pre-political situation a complex of facts and statements in which the collective involvement of worker and popular singularities is felt, and in which the failure of the regime of the One is discernable”. Peut-on penser la politique?, p. 76.

41Peut-on penser la politique?, pp. 81-2.

42In this sense, though Wood’s arguments, levied against post-Marxism, regarding the evacuation of power and exploitation from its political horizon might be thrown at Badiou, the latter is certainly immune to the devastating conjunctural charge made by Wood against the post-Marxists, or new “true” socialists, to wit: that their “deconstruction” of Marxist metaphysics is functional to an option for ideological battles and alliances focalised around electoral contests, and “the logic of their argument is an electoralist logic” (The Retreat from Class, p. 190). While post-Marxism, with its open sympathies for Austro-Marxism and the second International, signals a definite, if particularly elliptical, option for reform over revolution, Badiou’s “Marxist politics” of the 1980s – and, we could argue, his current thinking and practice – appears entirely indifferent to this alternative. However, such a stance is founded on a drastic separation from the idea of a political “programme” (as a mediation between subjective will and objective transformation) which would render his position deeply inimical to the likes of Wood.

43See Bruno Bosteels, “The Speculative Left”, South Atlantic Quarterly 104, 4, 2005, pp. 751-67. All of Bosteels’ work, and especially his forthcoming book Badiou and Politics (Duke University Press), should be consulted for further insights into the questions sketched out in this paper. See also, for background and analysis, Peter Hallward’s chapter on politics in Badiou: A Subject to Truth, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2004, as well as his important article on “The Politics of Prescription” in the same issue of SAQ.

44 “L’usine comme site événementiel”, Le Perroquet 62-63, pp. 1 and 4-6.

45 Ibid.

46 Ibid.

47 On these terms, and many of the issues having to do with the shifts in Badiou’s thinking, see my article in Prelom No. 6/7.

48 “L’usine comme site événementiel”.

49 “La figure du (re)commencement”, p. 8.

50 At the same time, I think that Badiou’s farewell to political anthropology may be somewhat premature. For an initial statement of this problem, see Nina Power and Alberto Toscano, “Think, Pig!: An Introduction to Badiou’s Beckett”, in Alain Badiou, On Beckett, Manchester: Clinamen Press, 2003. See also Nina Power, “What is Generic Humanity?: Badiou and Feuerbach”, Subject Matters vol. 2, No. 1, 2005, pp. 35-46.

51 See “From the State to the World?: Badiou and Anti-capitalism”, Communication and Cognition vol. 37, No. 3/4, 2004, pp. 199-224, also available at: <http://www.goldsmiths.ac.uk/csisp/papers/toscano_stateToWorld.pdf&gt;.

52 See Kouvelakis, op. cit., as well as Massimiliano Tomba’s “Differentials of Surplus-Value”, Historical Materialism (forthcoming).

53Hannah Arendt, On Revolution, London: Penguin, 1963, chapter 6: “The Revolutionary Tradition and its Lost Treasure”.

via khukuri

Büyük evlerin küçük odalarında yaşadım, yüksek yerlerdeki alçak adamlarla tanıştım. Çocukluğum can sıkıntısıyla mücadele ederek geçti. Can sıkıntımı yenmek için savaş filmleri izlerdim. O dönemlerde Vietnam savaşı yeni bitmişti ve Amerikanlar savaş filminden başka film çekmiyordu. Savaştan dönüp de topluma adaptasyon sorunu çeken travma kurbanı, üzgün, gücünü yitirmiş, haksızlığa uğradığını düşünen bilge kurban-kahramanlar pek modaydı o zamanlar. Vietnam savaşından dönen bunalımlı bir gazi olmadığım halde gençliğimde kendimi o kurban-kahramanlardan biri olarak gördüm hep. O kadar çok savaş filmi izlemiştim ki bu savaş filmlerinin travmatik bir etkisi oldu üzerimde ve kendimi hayatta tutabilmek için mevcut yaşam biçimlerini eleştiren düşünceler üretmeye başladım. Bu düşünceler beni topluma yabancılaştırdı çünkü toplum bireye kıyıcı bir ilişkiler yumağından başka bir şey değildi.

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“Ben” dediğiniz şey kendiniz değildir aslında. Zira “siz” ancak kendiniz olmayan bir şey olarak var olabilirsiniz toplum içerisinde. Daimi suretle kendinizden farkınız olarak sürdürürsünüz yaşamınızı. Buna toplumsallaşma uğruna saçmalamak da diyebiliriz herhalde. Toplumsal yaşamda kişi olayları bedensel olarak tecrübe ettiği halde zihinsel olarak kendisini topluma ait hissetmezken, çok sevdiği bir filmi seyrederken kendisini filmdeki karakterlerin yerine koyarak bedensel olarak hadiseleri yaşamadığı halde zihinsel ve duygusal olarak filmin içerisindeki olaylar zincirinin bir parçası haline gelebiliyor. Zaten işte budur film seyrederken insanın zevk almasını sağlayan şey; toplumsal kimliğinin dışına çıkmak, kendin olarak bildiğin “ben”in senin toplumsal kimliğinden sıyrılarak bağımsız olarak sürdürdüğü kişisel olmayan bir ötekileşme. Tabii burada bu ötekileşmenin ötekiyle özdeşleşme, yani ötekinin içinde kendinden bir şeyler, kendinde de ötekinden bir şeyler bulma ve bu benzerlikerden ötürü duyulan kendini kendi dışındaki dünyanın bir parçası gibi hissetme, öyle görme fantezisi olduğunu söylemeye bile gerek yok. Bu tür bir fantezi terapötiktir; kişi kendini dünyaya ait hisseder, ötekilerle bağ kurar, mutludur. Bu durumun öteki tarafında ise insanın kendini dünyayla bir olarak görmesinden duyduğu sıkıntı sonucu ortaya çıkan, filmlerdeki karakterlerin kendinden ne kadar da, o kadar ki son derece bile yetmez o farklılık derecesini tanımlamaya, farklı olduğunu görme ve gösterme eğilimi hakimdir. Bu kişi kendini film karakterleriyle özdeşleştiren kişiden farklı olarak film seyrederken kendini filmdeki karakterlerle özdeşleştirip onların hissetiği gibi hissetmekten hiç hoşlanmaz, bilâkis bu kişi kendini filmdeki karakterlerin gerçek hayattakinden ne derece farklı olduklarını ve kendisinin asla bu film karakterleri gibi düşünüp, hissedip, bu düşünceler ve hislerle hareket etmeyeceğini, onlar gibi olmayacağını, olamayacağını söyler. Bu iki farklı seyir tipini terapötik, eğlence amaçlı seyir ve eleştirel gözle seyir diye de ikiye ayırabiliriz, ki nitekim işte ayırdık da zaten. Ne yapacağını ve ne diyeceğini çevreyi gözlemlemek suretiyle tartıp biçmeden hayata geçiren kişi kaybetmeye ve kendi dışkısı içerisinde boğulmaya mahkûmdur sevgili okur. Kişi kendisine şunu sormalıdır: Bu hareketim neleri doğuracak, bu sözler nelere sebebiyet verecek? Yaptığımız eylemlerin ve sarf ettiğimiz sözlerin etkilerini önceden kestirebilmenin yolu geçmişte ettiğimiz sözlerin ve giriştiğimiz eylemlerin şimdinin gerekliliklerinden hareketle gözlemlenmesinden ve geleceği geçmişten daha iyi kılacak biçimde yeniden yorumlanmasından geçer.

Hepimiz bu hayatta birer aktör ve aynı zamanda birer seyirciyiz. Zira bu hayatta çevremizdeki olayalarla ilişkilerimiz gözlem ve eylem boyutlarında gerçekleşir. Yani işte göz görür can çeker. Özdeşleşmeye karşı duruşuyla tanınan, özdeşleşme nesneleri ve arzu nesneleri arasındaki ilişkiyi sıradışı bir yaklaşımla ele alan Gilles Deleuze ise bu konuya ilginç bir biçimde en olmadık yerden parmak basar. Deleuze pek çok kitabında arzunun kendine karşı dönüşünün nasıl gerçekleştiğini deşifre etmekle kalmamış, aynı zamanda arzunun üretici bir eylem olduğunun da altını çizmiştir. Buna göre arzulamak nesnesini kendisi üreten yaratıcı bir eylem biçimidir. Deleuze varlığı yaratıcılıkla eş tutar. Yaratıcılık olabilecek her şeyi var kılandır.

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Bedensiz Organlar adlı kitabında Slavoj Zizek’i Deleuze’ü yanlış okurken okuyoruz. Bu arada Zizek, Deleuze’ü zaten herkesin yanlış okuduğu Hegel’i yanlış okurken okuyor. Bu yanlış okumalar silsilesi içerisinde doğru kalan tek şey eleştirel teorinin ilk şartının yanlış okumayı bilmek olduğu ortaya çıkıyor. Zizek’in bir dizi histerik provokasyondan ibaret Deleuze eleştirisi Deleuze’ün felsefesinin temel emelini tespit ederek başlıyor işe. Zizek’e göre Deleuze’ün felsefesinin temel emeli yeninin ortaya çıkış sürecini teorik olarak açıklamaktır. Bu doğru tespitten sonra Zizek, Deleuze’ün felsefesini Deleuze I ve Deleuze II diye ikiye ayırıyor. Deleuze I, Deleuze’ün Guattari’yle birlikte yazdığı Anti-Oedipus: Kapitalizm ve Şizofreni adlı kitaba kadar olan dönemi kapsarken, Deleuze II, Deleuze’un Guattari’yle işbirliği içerisinde kaleme aldığı kitapları kapsıyor. Gilles Deleuze ve Felix Guattari iki ciltlik Kapitalizm ve Şizofreni: Anti-Oedipus adlı kitaplarında Marx-Nietzsche-Freud üçgeni içerisinde değerlendirdikleri geç kapitalizmin kendine karşı güçleri hem üretip hem de yok ettiğini yazacaklardır yetmişlerin sonlarına doğru. Her ne kadar şizofreninin sadece kapitalizmin bir ürünü olduğuna katılmasam da Deleuze ve Guattari’nin kapitalizmin ürettiği anormallikleri bastırarak canına can kattığını ve radikal anormalleşmeye götüren bir üretim-tüketim-ilişkileri-kısır-döngüsüne dayandığını itiraf etmek durumunda hissediyorum kendimi.

Zizek, Deleuze’ün felsefesine siyasi bir bağlam oluşturmak maksadıyla kendi özgün felsefesini Guattari’nin politik anti-psikiyatri söyleminin süzgecinden geçirmek suretiyle kolaycılığa kaçtığını iddia ediyor. Zizek, Deleuze’ün felsefeyi siyasileştirme çabasına denk gelen bu ikinci dönemi bir talihsizlik olarak nitelendiriyor ve Deleuze’ün Hegel’ci diyalektiği aşma çabalarının başarısızlığa mahkûm oluşunun göstergesi olarak lânse ediyor. Zizek’e göre Deleuze hem Hegel’ci diyalektiğin ötesine geçemiyor, hem de Hegel’i olduğundan farklı gösterip çarpıtıyor. İşte bu noktada “farklılığın filozofu” olarak bilinen Deleuze’un sanat ve yaratıcılık üzerine kestiği ahkâmları inceleyecek olursak Zizek’in ne demek istediğini daha iyi kavrayabilecek zemini yaratmış oluruz sanırım kendimize.

Deleuze için sanat yaratıcılığın en radikal biçiminin yaşandığı bir uzam, değişim sürecinin en uçta yaşandığı bir etkinlik, sanatçı ise statükoya düşünsel dinamizmiyle direnen, kendi varoluş alanını kendisi yaratmak zorunda olan radikal bir varlıktır. Bu tablo iyi ve insanlık için faydalı bir şey olmaktan öte, önüne geçilmesi hemen hemen imkânsız evrimsel bir sürecin de yansımasıdır.

Denebilir ki sanat iyinin ve kötünün ötesinde olan bir şeydir. Bu da demek oluyor ki klasik veya daha genel bir tabirle geçmişe ait sanat yapıtlarının bugünün koşullarına bakılarak, bugünün algılama biçimiyle değerlendirilmesi ve bunun neticesinde de iyi veya kötü diye nitelendirilmesi bir anlam ifade etmekten yoksundur, ve zaten böyle bir nitelendirme çabası gereksizdir. O yapıt, o günün koşullarında, o çağın düşüncesiyle anlamsal olarak şekillenmiş ve içerik kazanarak, bu içeriğe uygun bir biçimle insanlığa sunulmuş bir yapıt olarak ele alınmalı ve ondan mümkün mertebe yararlanılmalıdır; onu ait olmadığı bir çağda kötü veya iyi diye yargılamak ona yapılmış bir hakarettir. Gerek geçmişle alay eden, gerekse geçmişi ironik bir şekilde yücelten, geçmişte kullanılan dilin yapısını bozan, hem biçimsel, hem de içeriksel olarak yeni tarzlar deneyen, içerik-biçim ilişkisine yeni boyutlar katan, kısacası anlam aktarımında kullanılan araç gereci ve teknikleri değiştirmek suretiyle anlam kavramına da yeni anlamlar katan, değişen ve değişmekte olan insanların bu değişime paralel olarak değişen beklentilerini deneme yanılma yöntemiyle karşılamaya yönelik, kendinden emin, deneysel eserler üretilmektedir. Bu eserler bizi içinde bulunduğumuz mevcut-duruma hapsolmuşluktan kurtarmakta işe yarayabilir. Durum dışında düşünce üretip duruma dıştan müdahale etmek, ona içindekileri tersyüz ederek dışa dönmesini sağlayacak şekilde yaklaşmakla mümkün kılınabilir. Kendimizi kaybedene kadar kendimizden kaçmaya değil, bilâkis bu durumun olanaksızlıklarını birer olanak haline getirip değerlendirmek arzusuna meyletmeliyiz bence. İmkânsızlıklar elimizdeki imkânlardır, dolayısıyla da eldekini en iyi şekilde değerlendirmek bir sorumluluktur. Zira eskiden var oluşun bir anlamı olmadığı düşüncesi kendi içinde bir anlam ifade ediyor ve sanatçılar da anlamsızlığın bu anlamını değişik şekillerde yeniden yaratmaya ve aktarmaya çalışıyordu. Belli ki artık tıpkı var oluşun bir anlamı olmamasının anlamı gibi, duygu ve düşünce arasındaki ayrım da ortadan kalkmıştır. Çağımızda bilimden bağımsız olarak düşünülemeyecek sanat, bilimdeki gelişmelerle beraber hem teknik hem de içerik olarak elbette ki değişime uğrayacaktır. Bilim sanatı, sanat da bilimi değiştirir; neticede ikisi de temelde hayal gücüne dayanır. Belki bir çerçevesi vardır sanatın ama bu çerçeve tıpkı hayatın çerçevesi gibi şeffaftır ve sınırlayıcı bir çerçeve değildir. Zaten gerçek bir sanat yapıtı işte o çerçevenin görünmezliğinin bile ötesine geçmeyi başarabilendir; yani yaşamın görünen yanlarının ötesine… Onu çevreleyen şeffaf çerçevenin ötesine taşıdığı anlamla, hayatın her alanına yayılır sanat ve bu yüzyıllardır böyle süregelmiştir. Sanatsal yaratıcılığın amacı, çelişkilerle dolu insanın yapısını bozup, insanın dinamik özünü oluşturan sürekli değişim arzusuyla, bu arzuya direnen korku temelli güdünün aşılması ve ana hapsolmuş anlamın, uyumun ve bütünlüğün yakalanıp ölümsüzleştirilmesidir.

(c)cengizerdem, 2005.

“Ekonomiyi düzeltirsek her şeyi düzeltmiş oluruz,” söylemi o kadar yanlıştır ki bu söylemin yanlışlığı sadece iki kelimenin yerini değiştirmek suretiyle düzeltilebilecek basit bir mantık hatasına indirgenemez. Zira burada söz konusu olan bu söylemi dillendiren zihniyetin içsel yapısından kaynaklanan bir bozukluktur. Genellemciliği ve indirgemeciliği aynı anda bünyesinde barındırmak kabiliyetine sahip olan bu zihniyet son derece mutsuz bir bilincin yansımasıyla zuhur edegelmiştir. Bundan böyle “Hegel’in muhteşem buluşu mutsuz bilinç,” olarak anacağımız bu çarpık zihniyet çarpıklıklarından güç alan, içsel çelişkilerini lehine çevirmek ve varlığını sürdürebilmek için ortadan kaldırılması gereken imkânsızlıkları birer imkâna dönüştürmek suretiyle gücüne güç, canına can, malına mal katan bir yapıya sahiptir. Bu mutsuz bilincin içsel yapısının kapitalizmin içsel yapısıyla birebir özdeş olduğunu söylemeye ise bilmiyoruz gerek var mı. Bu son söylediklerimizi mevzuya aşina olmayan okuyucularımız için özetleyecek olursak diyebiliriz ki kapitalizm mutsuz bilinci hem üreten hem de ürettiği bu mutsuz bilincin olumsuz enerjisini kendi olumlu enerjisi kılmak suretiyle gücüne güç, canına can, malına mal katan bir yapıya sahiptir.
Genel olarak ekonomik sistemler ya ölüm dürtüsünü, ya da yaşam dürtüsünü sömürerek ayakta kalırlar. Kapitalizm bu dürtülerin her ikisini birden sömürüyor. Kapitalizm bu dürtüleri hem üretiyor hem de sömürüyor. İnsanları eğlenmeye teşvik ediyor, eğlence olarak alkollü-alkolsüz ve/fakat her halükârda kimyasal içki çeşitleri, uyuşturucu, uyarıcı, yağlı yemek, sigara, kahve sunuyor, yani ölüm dürtüsünü sömürüyor. İnsan eğlenmek için sağlığından oluyor. Sağlığın bozulmaya ve sistemi aksatmaya başladığı noktada piyasaya ölüm dürtüsüne karşı yaşam dürtüsü çıkıyor. Sonra aynı sistem yaşam dürtüsünü sömürmeye başlıyor: Sağlıklı yaşam, üçte ikisi karaciğer tarafından emilmeden vücuttan atılan vitamin hapları, mide, karaciğer, böbrek ve sinir hastalıklarına karşı kafeinsiz neskahve, nikotinsiz sigara, diet-kola… Yani tıpkı Renton’un Trainspotting’de dediği gibi: “Hayatı seç!” demeye başlıyor kapitalizm. Ama Trainspotting’in, filmi henüz çekilmemiş, sadece romanı yayınlanmış olan ikinci bölümünde kahramanlarımızın yıllar sonra yeniden buluştuklarını görüyoruz. Ortaya çıkar ki filmin ilk bölümünü “ben hayatı seçtim, sen de seç” sözcükleriyle bitiren Renton, aradan geçen yıllarda hiç de hayatı seçmemiş, bilâkis yavaş bir ölümü seçmiştir. Porno adlı bu Irwin Welsh romanında kahramanlarımızın yine haince plânları vardır; ama bu sefer uyuştıurucu değil, porno endüstrisine el atacaklardır. Kimyanın ve seksin paraya dönüştüğü noktada mallarına mal, canlarına can katacaklardır.
Diğer yandan kapitalizmi hem ideolojik olarak besleyen, hem de kapitalizmle beslenen pek çok Hollywood filmi Freud’un yaklaşık bir asır önce nöron-bilimin açıklamakta ve anlamlandırmakta yetersiz kaldığı psişik hadiseleri açıklığa kavuşturabilmek için yarattığı bu iki kavramın insan doğasına ilişkin sınırları doğa bilimlerinin çizdiği sınırların ötesine taşımasından esinlenmekle kalmıyor, aynı zamanda bu durumdan büyük bir haz da alıyor. Somut kanıtlarla açıklanabilecek dünya o kadar küçük ki, Hollywood film yönetmenlerinin Freud’un yarattığı bilinçdışı dünyanın spekülasyona açık sınırsızlığı karşısında zil takıp oynamakdıkları kalıyor neredeyse. Neden? Çünkü bilinmeyen çarpıtılmaya açık ve sömürülmeye son derece müsaittir; psikolojik gerilim filmlerini ve doğa-üstü hadiseleri konu alan daha başa korkunç filmleri düşününüz. Kapitalizmin hayatın nerede bitip ölümün nerede başladığını karıştıran, iyi ve kötü arasındaki farkı belirsiz kılan iç dinamikleri bu kısır döngünün işte böyle sürüp gitmesine sebep olurken, kafası karışık, ne istediğini bilmeyen, iyi ile kötü arasındaki ayrımı yapmaktan aciz, son derece mutsuz bilinçler dönemine neşe içerisinde giriyor dünyamız ve tabii yurdumuz.
Herneyse, konuyu dallandırıp budaklandırmak için reklâmlara baktığımız zaman ise görüyoruz ki çoğu ürün insana verdiği zevk ve yaşamın tadının daha çok çıkarılmasına katkıları bağlamında değer atfediliyor. Bir mal ne kadar zevk verirse tüketiciye fiyatı da o kadar artıyor. Yazı daha da anlamlı olsun diye hemen belirtelim, Freud’un ölüm dürtüsü adını verdiği psikoloji-ötesi kavram elbette ki günümüz insanının çok boyutlu iç dinamiklerini açıklamakta yetersiz kalacaktır. Zira insan elbette ki sadece iki kutuplu kısır bir döngüye indirgenemez. Elbette ki ölüm dürtüsü ve yaşam dürtüsünden başka motifleri de vardır insan doğasının. Ama şu da bir gerçek ki oyun oynama dürtüsü, rüya görmek, değişim yaratma dürtüsü, fantezi kurma dürtüsü gibi daha pek çok dürtüyü de ölüm dürtüsü ve yaşam dürtüsü kategorilerinde ele almak mümkün. Çünkü meselâ insan ölmemek için çevresini değiştirir, ölüme sebebiyet verebilecek etkenleri mümkün mertebe ortadan kaldırmaya meyleder. Söylemeye gerek var mı bilmiyoruz, ama işte bu yazıda zikredilenler ise şu cümlenin su götürmez bir hakikat formunda kaleme alınabilmesine zemin hazırlamaktan başka bir maksada hizmet etmedi, etmiyor, etmeyecek sevgili okur: “Ekonomiyi düzeltirsek her şeyi düzeltmiş oluruz söylemi o kadar yanlıştır ki yanlış kelimesi bu yanlışlık derecesini tanımlamakta yetersiz kalmaktadır.”

(c) cengizerdem, 2007.

Eğer dünyayı bir çöp tenekesine benzetecek olursak ve kendimizi de bu çöp tenekesinde yaşayan mikroplar olarak görürsek, birer mikrop olarak “nasıl daha iyi bir hale getirebilirim yaşadığım yeri?” sualiyle baş başa kalmış olarak bulmayız belki kendimizi. Lâkin hayal gücümüzü kullanmak suretiyle böyle garip bir soruyla baş başa kalmış bir mikrop olduğumuzu farzedelim gene de kısa bir süreliğine. Edelim bu farzı ki şu yanıtı verebilelim kendimize: “Elbette ki bir mikrop ne kadar becerikliyse temizlik işlerinde biz de işte bu lânetlenmiş adada o kadar başarılı olacağız bu düşünce işlerinde; gerek yok ettiklerimizle, gerekse ürettiklerimizle.”
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Önceden tasarlanamayan seçimlerle yaşam boyu boğuşmamızın sebebi emredilen şeyler olması ve bizim de düşünmek için bu emredilenlerin dışına çıkmak zorunda olmamız. Seçimini önceden tasarlamayı başarabilenler için pazarlık yapmak artık bir zevktir. Onlar kendi tasarladıkları bu seçimi sonuna kadar savunmaya adarlar hayatlarını. Bu bağlamda David Bowie’nin yaratıcı insanlar hakkında söylediği şu sözler çarpıcıdır bence: “Bizler fikirlerinin üç kişiden daha fazlası tarafından bilinmesi gerektiğini düşünen özürlüleriz; akıl hastanesine kapatılmayanlar sanatın kapısını çalar. Aklı başında bir insan yüzlerce veya binlerce kişiye ne düşündüğünü, neye inandığını söylemeye mecbur hissetmez kendisini; böyle bir şeye ihtiyaç duymaz.”Bunun üzerine röportajı yapan şahıs ona şu soruyu sorar: “Bu aslında herkeste bir parça vardır, tanıklık yapma ve farklılık yaratma isteği…Öyle değil mi?”David Bowie’nin yanıtı açık ve nettir: “Öyle mi? Güzel, demek ki aklım başımda.”Herkes önce kendi kişisel inancını sorgularsa sanırım bir yerlere gelinebilir. Ama tabii bunu yapabilmek için kişilerin belirli bir bilinç ve dolayısıyla da ahlâk düzeyine ulaşmış olmaları gerekir. Bunun için boynuzun mu kulağı, yoksa kulağın mı boynuzu geçtiği gayet önemsizdir; mühim olan boynuzun da, kulağın da olmaları gereken yerde olmalarıdır, zira kafasında eksiklikler olan bir öküzün neler yapacağı hiç belli olmaz.
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İnsanlar sürekli aynı konu üzerinde ve aynı biçimde, aynı kelimelerle düşünüyorlarsa beyinlerinin sürekli aynı kısmını aynı şekilde kullanıyorlar demektir. Yani beyinlerindeki pek çok nöron uzun süre kullanım dışı kalırken, hep aynı nöronlar hep aynı biçimlerde ilişkiye giriyor olduğu için zaman içerisinde bönleşme ve dar kafalılık zuhur eder. Bu durumun ortadan kalkması için nöronlar arasında kısa devre yapılmalıdır. Yani önce mevcut nöron ilişkileri alt üst edilmelidir ki yeni nöron ilişkileri ortaya çıkabilsin. Bu işlem beyinde gerçekleşecek içsel patlamalarla, içe dönük infılâklarla mümkün kılınabilir. İçsel patlamalar ise ya yeni dil kullanımlarıyla veyahutta yeni görsel-işitsel imaj kullanımlarıyla mümkün kılınabilir. Edebiyat, resim, sinema, müzik, felsefe gibi üretim alanlarının asıl işlevi bu içe dönük infılâkları hayata geçirmek olagelmiştir. Bu vesileyle tarihsel süreçte ilk bakışta akıl dışı gibi görülen şeylerin uzun vadede son derece akıllıca ve gerekli şeyler olduğu gözlenmiştir. Mevcut egemen yapı içerisinde bir anlam ifade etmeyen pek çok şey yapı değiştikçe anlam kazanagelmiş, yeni anlam dünyalarına kapılar aralar olmuştur. Durağanlığa müdahale ederek daha önce iletişim halinde olmayan nöronları uyararak birbirleriyle aktif bir ilişkiye sokar sanat. Düşüncenin belirli kalıplardan kurtulmasına hizmet edegelmiş sanatsal teknikler bugün mevcut sistemin muhafazasına yönelik manipülasyon tekniklerine dönüştürüldü kapitalist ayaktakımı tarafından.
Normal bir insanda birbiriyle iletişime geçmeyen nöronlar vardır beyinde. Ve işte birbiriyle iletişim halinde olmayan bu nöronlar, daha doğrusu bu nöronların birbirleriyle iletişim halinde olmaması bilinç düzeyinde boşluklar, bilinçli düşüncede kopukluklar yaratır. Bu boşluklara ve kopukluklara bilinçdışı derler. Yani bilinçdışı denilen şey aslında bilinçteki boşluklara, mevzuyu metaforlaştırmak gerekirse kara veya beyaz noktalara verilen addır. Reklâmlar veya Hollywood’da çekilen filmler sanatsal teknikleri kullanmak suretiyle sadece bilince değil, o boşluklara da hitap eder hale gelmiştir. Yani işte mesela tıpkı sanat gibi daha önce iletişim halinde olmayan nöronları birbirleriyle ilişki içerisine sokarak beynin o ana dek kullanılmayagelmiş kısımlarını harekete geçirir reklâmlar ve bazı filmler. Artık en sıradan reklâmlar, en abuk subuk filmler bile sanatsallaşmış, daha doğrusu sanatsal teknikleri daha başka emeller, kötü emeller için kullanmaya başlamıştır. Yani reklâmcılar sanatsal teknikleri kullanmak suretiyle bilinçdışı dürtüleri sömürmeyi marifet beller hale gelmiş, böylelikle de hiç ihtiyacımız olmayan birtakım malları satın almaya meyletmişizdir biz. Hiç gereği yokken boyumuzdan büyük borçlar altına girip zaman içerisinde çatır çutur eziliriz. Borçlarını ödeyemeyince bunalıma girip intihar edenlerimiz olur.
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Düşünce otomatikleşerek beynin içinden bir yerden ve/fakat kime ait olduğu bilinmeyen bir ses gelir. Bir nokta vardır ki özne kendiliğini yitirerek otomatik bir şekilde kaleme alır bu iç sesin söylediklerini. Bir noktadan ziyade bir mod, bir ruh halidir aslında burada söz konusu olan. Bilinçdışı denilen boşluğun, yani işte aslında varlıktaki veya düşüncedeki deliğin içinde yitip gider özne. Özne iç sesin nesnesi haline gelip iç sesin söylediklerini kaleme alan bir enstrümana dönüşür böylelikle. Bir yazı yazılmaktadır ama kimseye mal edilemez o noktada bu yazma eylemi. Bir takım sözler zikredilmektedir ama nesnel olarak var olan hiçkimse zikretmemektedir bu sözleri. Otomatik yazım, yani bilinçdışına devredilen hükümdarlık mevcut sisteme hizmet eder, zira bir hiçliğin gölgesinden başka bir şey olmayan bilinçdışı dış kaynaklı nesnelerle doldurulmuş durumdadır iktidar tarafından. Örneğin reklâmların veya Hollywood filmlerinin doğrudan bilinçdışındaki boşluğa yönelttiği nesneler, görsel ve işitsel imgeler bilinçdışının boş kalmış noktalarını doldurmak suretiyle bilinçdışını yeni düşüncelerin ortaya çıkması için gerekli bir boşluk olmaktan çıkarır.
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Yurdumuzda yaklaşık otuz yıldır her gün aynı konu üzerinde ve aynı kelimeler kullanılarak yazılan gazete yazıları insanımızın algı kapılarını sonuna kadar kapamış, insanımız çok dar bir alanda, hep aynı konu üzerinde ve hep aynı biçimde düşünmeye mahkûm edilmiştir böylece. Zaman içerisinde kemikleşen düşünce kalıpları son derece içe kapalı, sadece ve hep kendi yapay sorunlarıyla alâkadar bir toplum yaratmıştır neticede. Zaten işte bu yüzdendir insanımızın gittikçe bencilleşmek suretiyle sadece ve hep kendini düşünür hale gelmesinin sebebi. Buna dış dünya tarafından empoze edilen izolasyon da eklenince aslında hiç de yeni olmayan şeyler bile yeni addedilir olmuştur. Dış dünyaya açılan tek kapı Türkiye’den geçtiği için ve zaten Türkiye de dış dünyayla mukayese edilince son derece marazi ve içe dönük bir ülke olduğu için durum neredeyse içinden çıkılmaz bir hâl almıştır. Türkiye ile olan ilişkilerin sorunlu bir seyir izlediğini de akılda tutarsak zaten yürekler acısı olan durum akıl almaz bir buhrana sürüklemiştir insanımızı. Bu buhran o boyutlara varmıştır ki psikoz zuhur etmiş ve histeri, nevroz gibi hastalıklar birer yaşam biçimi halini almıştır yurdumuzda.
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Kuzey Kıbrıs’ta oldukça karanlık bir dünyamız var aslında. O kadar ki bir kâbustan farksız olduğunu düşünüyorum ben bu dünyanın. Görünüşte oldukça mutluymuş izlenimi veren insanların bile içinde fırtınalar kopmakta. Son derece iç karartıcı birer yaşamı var bunların. Bunu anlamak için ermiş olmak gerekmiyor, bilâkis gerçekten iç huzuru yakalamış bir başka insanla karşılaştırmak yeterli olacaktır Kuzey Kıbrıslı şahsiyeti. Ne yazık ki tüm bunlara rağmen Kıbrıs’ta rahat bir yaşam sürdüğüne inanan insan sayısı had safhadadır. Rahat olmadığını iddia edenler ise önlerine üç-beş kuruş daha fazla para atılırsa mutlu olacaklarına inanmaktadır. Acıdır sevgili okur ve/fakat gerçektir tüm bunlar. Kitlesel halüsinasyon o derece korkunç boyutlara varmıştır ki hiçliğin girdaplarında boğulmakta olan bir varlık bile kahkahalarla güler hale gelmiştir mevcut duruma ve onun içinde hapsolmuş bulunan bu garip yaratıklara. İşin içindeki bit yeniklerini saymaktan bitap düşenler olduğu gibi, yorulmak nedir bilmeyenler de vardır ama adamızda. Bilincini içe dönük infılâklara maruz bırakmak heveslisi olanlara varoluş alanı yoktur, lâkin kendisini değiştirmeden toplumu değiştiremeyeceğini bilen bir insan elbette ki böyle bir toplumda her şeye rağmen kendine varoluş alanı yaratmaktan başka çaresi olmadığını da bilir genellikle.
Konumuza geri dönecek olursak görürüz ki beyin yıkmakla yaratmak eylemlerinin çatışmasına sahnelik eden bir organdır aslında. Şöyle ki, beynin nasıl çalıştığı, algılama ve anlamlandırma işlemlerinin nasıl gerçekleştiği konusunda son dönemlerde yapılan araştırmalar gösteriyor ki dünya bizim onu algıladığımız gibidir. Yani dünya nasıl olursa olsun bilinç düzeyine ancak beynin süzgecinden geçerek varabileceği için dünyayı sadece algıladığımız gibi görebiliriz. Buna alternatif olarak ünlü Sloven düşünürü Slavoj Zizek dünyanın bizim onu algıladığımız gibi olmadığını kabul etmemiz gerektiğini, gerçek dünyanın beynin algısından bağımsız olduğunu ve bu gerçek dünyanın da algılanamaz olduğunu, bizim dünyayı egemen güçlerin bakış açısıyla görecek şekilde algılamaya programlandığımızı, dolayısıyla da dünyayı değiştirmenin bizim onu algılayış biçimimizi değiştirmekle mümkün olmayacağını söylemektedir son kitabı Paralaks Görüngü’de. Yani mesela her şey çok kötü olduğu halde kişi algısını değiştirerek her şeyi olduğu gibi görmek yerine pembe bir düş aleminde yaşamayı seçiyor ve her şeyin güllük gülistanlık derecesinde güzel olduğunu söylüyorsa sen de takdir edersin ki bu kişi gaflet ve hatta delalet içerisinde kendini kandırmaktadır sevgili okur. Belki dünyayı algılama biçimimizi değiştirmek bir ilk adım olabilir aslında bence. Lâkin bu ilk adım son adım olmamalıdır, ki nitekim değildir de zaten. Yani dünyayı algılama biçimimizi değiştirme işlemini algılanan dünyanın kendisinin değiştirilmesi izlemelidir. Bu noktada Marx ve Hegel farkını da görebiliyoruz herhalde. Kısaca hatırlatmak gerekirse Hegel dünyayı farklı algılamanın yolunu göstermişti bizlere, Marx ise bu algısal değişimin dünyanın kendisini değiştirmek yolunda eyleme dönüştürülmesinin gerekliliğinden bahsetmişti kapitalizmi felsefi olarak çökertmek maksadıyla kaleme aldığı Felsefi El Yazmaları adlı kitabında.
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Marx’ın felsefesi bir ideoloji değil, materyalist bir değişim ve doğa felsefesidir aslında. Marx’ın kendisi bunu daha Demokritos ve Epikuros’un Doğa Felsefeleri Arasındaki Fark adlı doktora tezinde Aeschylus’un Zincire Bağlı Prometheus eserinde Prometheus’un tanrıların uşağı Hermes’e söylediklerini iktibas ederek dile getirmiştir çok net ve kesin şekilde. Bakın ne diyor Berlin’in 1841 Mart’ında kedilerin orgazmik çığlıkları arasında doktora tezini bitirmeye çalışan genç Marx: “Felsefe, kendisinin görünüşte sarsılmış medeni durumuna sevinen o zavallı Mart kedilerine ise, yine Prometheus’un tanrıların uşağı Hermes’e verdiği karşılığı vermektedir”:“Şunu bil ki şu kötü kaderimiSenin köleliğine değişmem bu dünyada.Zeus’a sadık uşak olmaktansaŞu kayanın kulu olmak yeğdir bana.”Marx’ın Alman İdeolojisi adlı kitabı ise bu düşüncesinin kariyeri ilerledikçe güç kazandığının en önemli kanıtıdır; orada ideoloji kavramı masaya yatırılıp doğranmış ve parçaları yem diye sömürgenlere fırlatılmıştır. Pek çoğu bu yemleri bir sokumda yutup Marxizm’i bir ideoloji olarak dışkılamakla kalmamış, hemen akabinde de bu dışkıları kapitalizmin çölünde gübre olarak kullanmak suretiyle dünyanın bir kısmını Las Vegas’laştırırken öteki kısmını istila etmek ve kötü kalpli karanlık kuvvetlere peşkeş çekmek için silah endüstrisinde çalışacak işçilere yedirerek gücüne güç katmıştır. Bu durumda şunu söylemeden edemiyorum sevgili okur: Ölen ölü kalsın, ölmeyenler ölü taklidi yapmaktan vazgeçsin, zira kitlenin taptığı tanrıları onaylamak kitleye yapılabilecek en büyük kötülüktür.
fmhs
Not: Karl Marx aslında sanıldığı kadar dogmatik bir düşünür değildi. Kendisi daha üniversitedeyken din ve ideoloji eleştirilerine başlamış, Hegel’ci diyalektiği benimsemiş, ve materyalist bir çizgide radikal dönüşümün mümkün kılınması için yazılması ve yapılması gerekenler üzerine kafa yormuştur. Orta-sınıf bir ailenin oğlu olan Marx kafası son derece karışık bir insandı önceleri ama sonra düşüncelerini yerli yerine oturtarak yirminci yüzyılın en önemli düşünürlerinden biri oldu. Üniversite yıllarında kendini içkiye vermiş ve aşk şiirleri yazarak teselli bulmaya çalışmıştı Marx. Gittiği hemen hemen her ülkeden sürgün edilerek gezgin bir serseri portresi çizmek durumunda kalmıştı uzun bir süre, ve/fakat sonra Paris’te zengin bir işadamının oğlu olan Engels’le tanıştı. Marx Paris’te de tutunamayınca Engels’le birlikte Londra’ya giderek dünyaya bunalımlarının damgasını vurdular bu ikisi. Çok sevdiği karısının Marx’a “Kapital’i yazacağına o masadan kalk da biraz kapital yapmaya bak,” dediği söylenir.
 
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Post-yapısalcılık adlı düşünce akımının son otuz yılda deforme olmakla kalmayıp özündeki ideoloji karşıtı duruşa son derece ters düşen bir şekilde yüceltilerek global kapitalizm dedikleri üretim ilişkileri biçiminin elinde şamar oğlanına döndürüldüğünü artık hepimiz biliyoruz. Ünlü Alman düşünürü Karl Marx’ın tarif ettiği biçimiyle kapitalizm içinde bulunduğumuz şu günlerde çok daha vahşi bir hal almıştır ve karşıtlarını içinde barındırmakla yetinmez, bunları kendine hizmet edecek şekilde deforme edip anti-kapitalist güçleri etkisiz ötesi kılar. Bu durumu göz önünde bulundurduğumuzda örneğin Gilles Deleuze ve Felix Guattari gibi aklı ve deliliğin anlamını sorgulamakla işe koyulmuş, akabinde geliştirilen bir atakla ise Freud’cu psikanalize ve Marxizm’in ortodoks kanadına Nietzsche vasıtasıyla karşı çıkarak materyalist bir psikiyatri ve ortotoks olmayan bir Marxizm yaratma çabalarının nasıl olup da global kapitalizm dedikleri üretim ilişkileri biçiminin boyunduruğu altına girerek global anormalleşmeye hizmet eder hale geldiğini idrak etmemiz kolaylaşır.Post-yapısalcılık özünde yapısalcılık, Batımerkezci aklın egemenliği ve Aydınlanma akımına bir tepki olarak Fransa’da doğmuş ve bu akımların kalıpçı ve dogmatik yanlarını budamaya yönelik teorik yazılarla işe başlamıştır. Özellikle Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze, ve Jacques Derrida’nın birbiri ardına yayınladıkları kitaplarla Kuzey Amerika üzerinden tüm dünyaya yayılmış bir düşünme biçimidir post-yapısalcılık. Temelde durağanlık karşıtı ve sürekli değişim taraftarı olmasına karşın post-yapısalcılık Kuzey Amerika’lı akademisyenlerin öğrencilereine çarpıtarak aktarmakta tereddüt etmediği ve bunun neticesinde de çarpıtılmış, yani Amerikanlaştırılmış haliyle edebiyat ve sinema başta olmak üzere tüm kültürel üretim alanlarının egemen teroik temelini oluşturmuştur. Hollywood filmlerinin post-yapısalcılığı para getirecek şekilde deforme edip sömürerek kitlelere ulaştırması neticesinde ise bu akım bugün maalesef bir tepki olarak doğduğu kapitalist ve Batımerkezci düşünce kalıplarının oyuncağı olmuştur. Tabii benim bu yazıdaki amacım post-yapısalcılığı global kapitalistlerin elinden kurtarıp hakettiği yere yerleştirmek değil, bunun boş bir çaba olacağı kanaatindeyim. Heidegger’in de dediği gibi “korkunç olan şey çoktan gerçekleşti.” Benim bu yazıdaki amacım post-yapısalcılığın toptan reddedilecek bir düşünce biçimi olmadığını, bilâkis tıpkı Frankfurt Okulu Eleştirel Teori’sinden olduğu gibi ondan da öğrenilecek ve global kapitalizm destekli global anormalleşmeye karşı kullanılacak pek çok şey olduğunu gözler önüne sermektir. Düşünülüp yazılanları arka bahçeye gömüp unutmakla geleceği dünden ve bugünden daha iyi kılmanın mümkün olmadığı kanaatindeyim.Post-yapısalcılık, yapısalcılık ve Aydınlanma projelerine bir alternatif üretmek maksadıyla ortaya çıkmış ve tek tip aklın egemenliğine karşı alt-kültürleri, delileri, anormalleri, dışlanmışları, sömürülüp bir kenara atılmışları öne çıkarmakla son derece yerinde bir çabanın ürünü olarak özellikle yetmişlerde ve seksenlerde dünyayı sarsmış olsa da, global kapitalizm marjinalliği ve anormalliği moda haline getirerek bu dışlanmış ve öteki diye tabir edilegelmiş grupları marjinalliklerinden ederek günün normu haline getirmiştir. Artık herkes anormaldir ve bununla gurur duyanların sayısı hiç de az değildir. Korku filmlerine baktığımız zaman psikopatların başından geçen ilginç olayları ve doğaüstü hadiseleri çarpıtarak aktarmak suretiyle milyonlarca dolar para kazanan yapımcı ve yönetmenlerin bolluğu göze çarpmakta, hatta gözleri yuvalarından etmektedir.Post-yapısalcılığın statik ve normalleştirici düşünce kalıplarını yok ederek yerine akışkanlığı ve dinamizmi yerleştirme projesinin pratikte fiyaskoyla sonuçlanmış olduğu doğrudur. Bunun sebebi az önce de sözünü ettiğim gibi kapitalizmin yapısı gereği kendine karşı olan her fikri emip süzgeçtem geçirerek kendi lehine çevirmekte gösterdiği başarıdır.Marx’ın kapitalizmin kendine karşı olan güçleri bünyesinde barındırdığını ta o zamandan söylemiş olduğunu zaten söylemiştim. Yinelemekte zarar yok, fayda var. İkinci Dünya Savaşı sırasında Nazi Almanyası’ndan kaçarak Amerika’ya sığınan Theodor Adorno, Max Horkheimer, ve Herbert Marcuse gibi düşünürler Marx’ın işte bu görüşüne Nietzsche’nin toplumsal, etik ve estetik değerlerin yok edilip yeniden yaratılması gerektiği görüşünü de ekleyerek günün koşullarına uyarlamış ve savaş bittikten sonra neşe içerisinde yenilmiş bir Almanya’ya dönerek Frankfurt Okulu’nu kurup bugün Eleştirel Teori diye bilinen yaklaşımın öncüleri olmuşlardır. Temelde kültür ve siyaseti birbirinden ayırmanın yanlış olduğunu vurgulayan Frankfurt Okulu Eleştirel Teorisine göre kapitalizm hasta bir toplum yaratmakla kalmayıp bu hastalığı sinema, edebiyat ve daha başka kültürel formasyonlar vasıtasıyla popülerleştirerek kitleye pazarlıyordu. Kapitalist üretim-tüketim ilişkilerinin içsel çelişkilerini içselleştiren bireyler kişilik bölünmesi yaşayarak kitlesel bir halüsinasyonun kuklaları ve kurbanları haline geliyordu. Dolayısıyla eleştirmenin görevi kendisini toplumun dışına atarak mutsuz bilincine rağmen, hatta bu mutsuzluktan ve yalnızlıktan güç alarak yeni bir düzenin yaratılması yolunda yazılar yazmaktı.Benzer bir çizgide Gilles Deleuze ve Felix Guattari iki ciltlik Kapitalizm ve Şizofreni: Anti-Oedipus adlı kitaplarında Marx-Nietzsche-Freud üçgeni içerisinde değerlendirdikleri geç kapitalizmin kendine karşı güçleri hem üretip hem de yok ettiğini yazacaklardır yetmişlerin sonlarına doğru. Her ne kadar şizofreninin sadece kapitalizmin bir ürünü olduğuna katılmasam da Deleuze ve Guattari’nin kapitalizmin kendi ürettiği anormallikleri bastırarak canına can kattığını ve radikal anormalleşmeye götüren bir üretim-tüketim ilişkileri kısrdöngüsüne dayandığını itiraf etmek durumunda hissediyorum kendimi.Görüldüğü gibi post-yapısalcılık ve Eleştirel Teori birbirinden sanıldığı kadar da uzak değil. Bu iki düşünce akımı yer yer birbirine zıt gibi görünse de aslında aynı hedef doğrultusunda gelişmiş ve birbirine benzer yanları olan, yirminci yüzyılın ikinci yarısına damgasını vurmuş iki ayrı muhalif tavırdır. Her iki düşünce sisteminde de göze çarpan en temel özellik disipilinlerarası bir yaklaşım sergileyerek felsefe, psikanaliz, edebiyat, sinema, siyaset alanları arasında yeni bağlantılar kurmak çabasıdır. Bu çaba yer yer başarısızlıkla sonuçlansa da bu farklı söylem biçimlerinin sentezlenmesi elbette ki takdire şayan bir uğraştır ve kapitalist üretim-tüketim ilişkilerinin eleştirisini ekeonomi-politik gibi dar bir alandan kurtarıp kapitalizmin dış yapısı ve iç dinamikleri gereği kendini sürekli yenileyerek büyüyen bir hal aldığı günümüz dünyasında kültür araştırmalarının hakettiği öneme kavuşmasını sağlamıştır. Her iki grubun da geç kapitalizmin dayattığı normlar karşısında anormalliğin eleştirel bir tavır takınmakta faydalı olabileceğini savunması ise bir tesadüftür. Zira biliyoruz ki post-yapısalcılık ve Eleştirel Teori uzun yıllar birbirlerinden habersiz bir şekilde sürdürdüler çalışmalarını. Nitekim Michel Foucault bir röportajında “Adorno’nun çalışmalarından haberim olsaydı kariyerimin başında yazdığım Deliliğin Tarihi adlı yapıtımda söylediğim pek çok saçma şeyi söylemekten kaçınırdım. Fransa’da Ecole Normale’de okurken profesörlerimiz bize hiç bahsetmemişti Frankfurt Okul
u’nun çalışmalarından. Adorno’yu keşfettiğim zaman benim patikalar açmakla uğraştığım alanlarda Adorno’nun çoktan beridir caddeler inşa ettiğini görünce hem üzüldüm hem de sevindim,” türünde sözler sarfetmiştir. (Bu noktada tarihi okuma biçimi bakımından Foucault’yla pek çok benzerlikler taşıdığını düşündüğüm Arif Hasan Tahsin’in “Aynı yolu yürüyenler farklı yerlere varamazlar,” sözlerini hatırlamamak neredeyse imkansız.)Dünyamızda hem doğa hem de kültür birbirine paralel olarak sürekli değişiyor. Bu değişimin devamlı suretle bir gelişim şeklinde gerçekleştiğini söylemekse oldukça zor görünüyor. Ve/fakat akışkanlığın moda haline geldiği, kimliklerin global kapitalizm potası içinde eriyerek yer yer birbirine girdiği şu günlerde düşüncenin olduğu yerde sayması elbette ki beklenemez. Bunu beklemek oldukça saçma bir beklenti olur kanaatindeyim. Nitekim kimse de böyle bir şey beklemiyor zaten ve düşünürler de düşüncelerini değiştirip günün koşullarına uyarlamak suretiyle çığ gibi büyüyen bir global anormalleşme süreci karşısında kendi normlarını ve içinde yaşadıkları toplumarın değerlerini eleştirecek yeni yöntemler ve söylemler yaratmak yolunda didinip duruyorlar. Tüm dünyada olduğu gibi yurdumuzda da geçmişten bağımsız bir gelecek düşleri bir tarafa bırakılıp tarihten kaçmanın imkansızlığı yavaş yavaş idrak ediliyor. Artık anlamayan kalmadı bugünün anlam kazanması için dünün unutulmamakla kalmayıp yeniden yazılmasının şart olduğunu. Farklı ve etkili yorum gelmişi de geçmişi de doğrusunu unutmadan yanlış okumayı becerebilmekten geçer. Bunun içinse eleştirel yorumcunun şimdi ve burada içinde yaşadığı koşullardan hareketle ve/fakat bir başka dünyanın, bir başka düzenin kurallarıyla kendi yaşam biçiminin temellerini sarsacak gücü ve cesareti kendinde bulması gerekir sevgili okur.Bunu yapmayı başarmış en önemli okur-yazarlardan biri olan Slovenyalı düşünür Slavoj Zizek gerek kitaplarında gerekse röportajlarında ütopyaların ölmediğini veya en azından ölmemesi gerektiğini sık sık vurguluyor. Zizek hem post-yapısalcılığı hem de Eleştirel Teori’yi kullanarak bu ikisinin ötesinde ve ne biri ne de öteki olan yeni bir yaklaşımın temellerini atmış bir kişi. Zizek bunu özellikle iki grubun da dışladığı Lacan’ın öznenin oluşum teorisini Hegel’le beslemek suretiyle siyaset bilimi ve kültür araştırmalarına uygulayarak başarmış.Zizek’in konumuzla alakasına birkaç cümle sonra döneceğiz, ancak öncelikle Lacan’ın neden önemli olduğunu kavramalıyız. Lacan’da karşılaştığımız en önemli yenilik çocuğun biyolojik varlığının sosyolojik varlığa dönüşme sürecinin açıklığa kavuşmasıdır. Lacan’cı psikanaliz büyük oranda işte bu geçiş sürecini anlatmaya çalışır. Lacan’a göre çocuk dili öğrenmeye başladığı andan itibaren biyolojik varlığından uzaklaşmaya başlar. Yani çocuk “benim adım şudur, budur, ben şuyum, buyum” demeyi öğrenmeye başladığı andan itibaren sosyal kimliğini kazanmaya başlamış, ve saltık kimliğinden, yani biyolojik kimliğinden uzaklaşmaya başlamış demektir. Buraya kadar pek de öyle yeni bir şey yok aslında, zira tüm bunlar Freudcu psikanalizle oldukça yakın bir ilişki içerisinde. Ama unutulmamalı ki Lacan’ın burada altını çizmeye çalıştığı nokta dil dediğimiz şeyin olgunlaşma sürecindeki yeri. Dilin edinilmesiyle birlikte çocuk ben, sen, o, biz, siz, onlar ayrımını yapmayı öğreniyor ve böylelikle de kendisiyle sosyal çevre arasına bir çizgi çekiyor, bir sınır koyuyor.İşte şimdi Zizek’in konumuzla alâkasına gelebiliriz, ki nitekim işte geldik de zaten. Sanırım geldiğimiz bu noktada öncelikle eğlence endüstrisinin global anormalleşmeye katkılarından söz etmemizde fayda var. Biliyoruz ki ezelden beridir eğlenmek için normdan sapmak gerektiği görüşü son derece yaygın. Ortaçağ’dan beridir bir ülkedeki eğlencenin bolluğu o ülkedeki özgürlük bolluğunun göstergesi olarak kabul ediliyor. Ve/fakat bu görüş global kapitalizmin geldiği ve bizi getirdiği noktada anlamını yitiriyor. Meselâ reklamlara baktığımız zaman görüyoruz ki çoğu ürün insana verdiği zevk ve yaşamın tadının daha çok çıkarılmasına katkıları bağlamında değer atfediliyor. Bir mal ne kadar zevk verirse tüketiciye fiyatı da o kadar artıyor. Zizek’e göre global kapitalist sistem artık eğlenceyi kısıtlamıyor, aksine özendiriyor. Yurdumuzdaki eğlence mekânlarının bolluğu ve eğlence sektöründe bir kaç yıldır yaşanan patlama bunun en önemli göstergelerinden biri. Dolayısıyla yurdumuzdaki eğlence mekânlarının bolluğuna kanıp da yurdumuzun her gün ve her bakımdan özgürleşmekte olduğu sonucuna varmak son derece yanlış. Bilâkis eğlence sektöründeki bu patlamayı global kapitalizmin insanları boyunduruğu altına alıp onları özgürleşmekte oldukları yanılsamasına hapsederek salakça bir sevince mahkûm ediyor oluşu şeklinde yorumlamalıyız. Bu yorumu yapabilmemiz içinse çok eğlenmiş ve eğlenceden bıkıp usanmış olmamız gerekmiyor; her ne kadar eğlenceden bıkıp usanarak eve kapanıp bol bol kitap okumak ve Hollywood filmlerinden daha başka filmler seyretmek bu saptamayı yapmayı kolaylaştırıcı faktörler olsa da…Ha eğer olayı global bazda düşünmek arzusuyla yanıp tutuşmamıza rağmen odaya kapanıp mevcut düzeni eleştiren kitaplar okumak ve sıradışı filmler seyretmek düşüncesine sıcak bakmıyorsak mahalle bakkalına gidip Coca-Cola tenekelerine bakmamız da işe yarayabilir. Coca-Cola tenekesine baktığımız zaman görürüz ki üzerinde “Enjoy Coke!” yazmaktadır ki bu Türkçe’de aşağı yukarı “Kolânın tadını çıkar!” veya abartacak olursak “Kolâ iç ve zevk al, hatta zevkten kudur!” anlamına falan gelmektedir. Oysa kolâ içip de orgazm olanını ben henüz ne gördüm ne de duydum. Kolâ içen adamın da kadının da olsa olsa dişleri çürür, asitten midesi delinir, kendisini çarpıntı bulur, şeker hastası olur ve daha da abartacak olursak kudurur ölür; zevkten değil ama, global ve kapitalist gazdan…

(c) cengizerdem

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