Comentario a “Todos somos anticapitalistas,” de José Luis Villacañas. Por Alberto Moreiras.

Uno de los argumentos fuertes de José Luis Villacañas en su reciente artículo de Levante, “Todos somos anticapitalistas,” copiado arriba, es que el anticapitalismo real no puede confundirse con una toma retórica de posición meramente “política,” que nos condena a la deyección de apostar fácticamente por lo que él llama el capitalismo arcaico y desdichado, el capitalismo nacional–recordemos que así acabaron todos los “marxismos realmente existentes.” Más bien entre capitalismo y anticapitalismo se da una suerte de estructura íntima o éxtima como la que se da entre los conceptos de facticidad y existencia en el Heidegger temprano. Así, el anticapitalismo es solo entendible y practicable como contramovimiento. Por eso José Luis recomendaba la actividad de crear espacios anticapitalistas a partir de prácticas existenciales como la educación o la vida familiar. Esta es la práctica de contramovimiento–no hay una trascendencia anticapitalista contra el pragmatismo capitalista, tampoco una trascendencia capitalista contra el pragmatismo anticapitalista, sino que el anticapitalismo solo puede ejercerse como contramovimiento, igual que la Existenz no puede prescindir de la vida fáctica que la sostiene. Es curioso que Heidegger entienda, históricamente, el contramovimiento de vida hacia existencia como “desvío” (umwegig), es decir, como un salirse del camino marcado por la inercia de la historia hacia otra cosa. En algún momento se refiere a ello como “lo más difícil.” “Existenz se hace entendible en sí misma en el hacer cuestionable la facticidad, esto es, en la destrucción concreta de la facticidad respecto a sus motivos para moverse, sus direcciones, sus disponibilidades relativas” (“Phenomelogical Interpretations with Respect to Aristotle,” 366).  Ese movimiento de destrucción–es la destrucción la que abre el camino a la Existenz–, y destrucción concreta, es decir, en cada momento ocupada en su mismo (des)hacer, que es un (des)hacer que construye un desvío, una errancia en sí misma orientada, pero orientada sin fin, o más bien orientada por la muerte como ya-no-más, en la que se juega todo, es la infrapolítica. Es obvio que la infrapolítica en ese sentido es siempre ya política–el movimiento de destrucción de lo fáctico no puede entenderse bajo ningún otro término–pero no es sin más política, porque no atiende como tal a ninguna nueva construcción sino que se abre radicalmente a lo que está debajo de toda construcción posible. Es decir, la infrapolítica no es sustantivable–como tampoco lo es el anticapitalismo, solo entendible como contramovimiento destructivo en el momento de subsunción total en la equivalencia. En ese sentido la infrapolítica es sin duda hermenéutica fenomenológica, y no podría ser otra cosa. En cuanto tal, sin duda también puede reclamar la totalidad de la práctica vital-existencial como su ámbito. Nada queda fuera de la destrucción infrapolítica.

1988: This is not a Review, it is a Call to All to Read “The Heidelberg Conference.”

Jaime Rodríguez Matos

[I do not post this as the general view of anyone doing work on infrpolitics, but as a personal engagement with perhaps the most intimate tradition linked to the emergence of infrapolitics.  It remains for those engaged in this work to point out to what extent infrapolitics is not simply a restatement of the French reading of Heidegger.  For my part, only after there is a concept of post-hegemonic infrapolitics can one begin to think through the political determination of the groundless calling, just as it is only after there is a concept of infrapolitical post-hegemony that it becomes possible to think thought the responsibility of deconstruction without ceding an inch on the philosophical insights that deconstruction has bequeathed us.  In the final analysis, however, the issue here is not whether infrapolitics is a novel endeavor regarding deconstruction (I believe it is simply a more radical continuation, even if this has to be done in tandem with deconstrunists such as they exist today and are academically sanctioned as such), but whether we are or are not better equipped to deal with the possible fascism that Trump and others incarnate today.]

  1. Are we more prepared today than we were in 1988 to deal with the possible resurgence of fascism? Almost thirty years on, there are some significant differences.  On the Left: it is no longer the case that Marxism is in retreat.  The word Socialism has gotten a new wind, even in the USA.  Elsewhere, leftist populisms have appeared (and perhaps also disappeared).  And in academia, a new breed of political theorists, wearing their radicalism on their sleeves, has found support from prestigious research institutions.  On the Center: it is no longer the case that the discourse of the rights of man and multicultural political correctness holds unquestioned power.  It is also no longer the case that the neoliberal agenda that underwrote much of what passed for such things goes without saying.  Hillary Clintons’ failure to secure the presidential seat gives one pause when considering the fate of neoliberalism, even as it is absolutely not a rupture with its most basic structures that we are attending to.  On the Right: a resurgence of a vitriol and violence imagined to be things of the past has left many in a state of deep shock.  The Right defined by a sort of cultural conservatism has given way to a Right of coded and not so coded racism, sexism, homophobia, and all around hate for all things not low or middle brow.  The attack on intellectual life, and education in general, has had profound effects on all facets of higher education, to the point where it is no longer even possible to discern the logic behind decisions made under the false pretense of efficiency and excellence.
  2. In 1988 Alain Badiou published Being and Event. He was, then, a virtually unknown professor (at least on a world-wide scale) with links to a Maoist French militancy.  Today he is undoubtedly one of the central master thinkers of our time.  In that book, and in its more accessible follow-up, Manifesto for Philosophy, Badiou made the case that it was in part due to the influence of Heidegger-inflected thought that the world had lost its way, or more precisely, that the left had lost its way, or, even more to the point, that philosophy had gone awry in so far as it was linked to politics.  The diagnosis had its appeal.  (Slavoj Zizek made a good part of his career on this one claim.)  It is perhaps hard to remember the complete rejection that first greeted this stance.  It was, then, almost a provocation to speak in the name of universality.  At least, one had to assume that doing it would lead directly, and very fast, to accusations of Eurocentrism.  Conjuncturally, however, it was a very astute way of framing things.  The naïve all over the world soon found themselves saying: “finally!, someone is here to legitimize my inability to actually delve seriously into deconstruction, poststructuralism, Being and Time, Spivak’s footnotes, the whole issue of the undecidability of the to-come that nevertheless is a step that has to be taken so that there can be something like my responsibility,” and so on and so forth.  Badiou’s Being and Event went on to go largely unread, or even dismissed as his own fall into the complacency of the Heideggerian deconstruction of metaphysics.  His “philosophy for militants” turned out to be the real draw.  Be that as it may, one thing is absolutely clear today: to claim that the world (any world, even Putin’s under the influence of Dugin) is somehow dominated by Heidegger-inflected thought is a claim that only the question-begging, straw-man-building, preachers-to-the-choir can entertain seriously.  In any case, even if we go back to the situation such as it was in 1988, it turns out that things were more complicated than they seemed from the point of view of (former) Maoists doing academic high theory in order to re-commence Marxism.
  3. In France (and one could say in Europe in general, even if most of the information was already known to anyone who cared enough), the publication of Victor Farias’ book on Heidegger’s ties to Nazism dominated 1988 from the start. And Heidegger inflected-thought, or more generally, the “thought of 1968” in France, was under attack from the simplifying world of media culture for allegedly not having denounced forcefully, or clearly, or loudly enough, Heidegger’s disgraceful involvement with the Nazi party.  The recent publication of the Heidelberg conference, which saw Jacques Derrida and Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe, together with Hans-George Gadamer, in a visit to Germany, gives us a clear glimpse of the complexity of the issue at hand.  For, in a world that was supposedly at the beck-and-call of deconstruction what emerges is the picture of an establishment that was only too glad to breath in relief at the opportunity of finally dispensing with the difficulty of Heidegger’s questions, and of the reading that some of his most committed French readers had endeavored to put forth since the 1960’s.  It became clear in 1988 that, because of the apparent novelty of Farias’ findings and the mediatic reaction to it, the surprise in question what not simply the result of an uninformed layman who happened to be a journalist, but that the journalists were following in the footsteps of an academic and supposedly informed audience who had taken it upon themselves to simply ignore the work that had been done regarding Heidegger and his ties to Nazism—a work that not only readily accepted the difficulty of assuming his political error, but which also brought to light an even more radical difficulty regarding the possibility of thinking Nazism precisely by reading Heidegger against the grain of this error.  In 1988 Derrida concluded that the Farias’ affair ultimately exposed not anything related to a novel and deal-breaking link between Heidegger and Nazism, for all of it was already known, but the complicity between a hegemonic neoliberal media apparatus and a university which ignored the same information only because the way it was framed, up until Farias’ book, was not only more difficult, but also put in question some of the most cherished assumptions that underwrote the social contract that it sought to uphold.  Derrida: “there is a certain field where one finds united the hegemony of the university, the powers at work in the university, and a structural hegemony of intellectual power that finds expression in the press.  An analysis, and not only a sociological analysis, should be applied to the articulation of these two domains.  It is there that the responsibilities of everyone are called” (77, emphasis in original).
  4. Once again I ask, how are we better prepared today to deal with a possible reincarnation fascism?
  5. In 1988 what was clear was that the political ideology that was supposed to have made fascism impossible was itself very weak. (And no one would seriously question this claim today: for what is at issue is not a strong political stance but the discourse of human rights, the ethics of respect for the other, and the weak claim that capitalist-democracy is the only way to safeguard freedom.)  This weakness was due to the fact that it relied on some of the very same concept that fascism took as essential to its discourse.  Now, it is true that the phrase “the political ideology that was supposed to have made fascism impossible” is still a very vague formulation.  Yet, it remains, for some, a fact that we do have certain positions that, if it were the case that fascism triumphed, would have to assume responsibility regarding the failure to have stopped it.  It is in this regard that Zizek states (citing Benjamin) that every fascism is a failed revolution (152).  [Zizek’s own endorsement of Trump complicates matters somewhat, as it entails that, for him, Trumpism is not yet, or not quite, a fascism, but an acceleration of world history so that contradictions fall into a place where it becomes visible (quicker) what needs to be done (in all its Leninists overtones).  The very idea of a possible acceleration of history should be critiqued, as it entails a very questionable teleological matrix.]
  6. Derrida, 1988, once more: “a certain disquiet, at this point even a certain fear, on the side of the tradition of this discourse—a fear regarding its own fragility and regarding a potential for questioning that is stronger in Heidegger’s work than in many others …” (21).
  7. And further: “… the discourse that dominates European institutions is no longer capable of holding up, and those who put forth this discourse know this in an obscure way. You know that one of the violences to which the people who pose this kind of question are exposed … is that when one says that ethics, that the way that we define ethics today is shaking on its lack of foundation, or when we say that we no longer know very well what it means to be responsible, the violence to which we are exposed is that one says to us: so you are putting forth a discourse that is immoral, an irresponsible discourse!  I maintain, on the contrary, that deconstruction today [early 1988] … is of course not an abdication of responsibility; it is … the most difficult responsibility that I can take.  And to trust in traditional categories of responsibility seems to me today to be, precisely, irresponsible” (24).
  8. And yet, the definition of responsibility cannot be a theoretical act (49). The issue here is not a theoretical voluntarism or decisionism.  Oddly enough, the Marxist and the deconstructionist find common ground on this front.
  9. Deconstruction, in 1988, and in spite of the university ignoring its work almost entirely, had spent a long while looking closely at those concepts that were supposed to have prevented the holocaust. And it had come across the evidence that subjectivity, intention, good will, etc., were not only not sufficient when it came to putting a stop to what from our present point of view is an absolute horror, but that these concepts were also, as it turns out, in complicity with that which they were supposed to have prevented.  Derrida, 1988: “… it is not because deconstruction deconstructs a received concept of responsibility that it is irresponsible.  On the contrary: I believe it is an exercise of responsibility to remain vigilant before the inherited concepts of responsibility.  And it is a fact that the … metaphysical concept of responsibility, such as it was formed throughout the history of philosophy, notably in its Kantian moment, as it was inscribed in the rights of man, in the democratic axiomatic, in Western morality and politics, that these concepts, European concepts, did not prevent Nazism.  And even that, very often, Nazism, Nazi discourse, used the very axiomatic that one opposes to it….  There was, in discourses, in people’s heads, something for which the theoretical concept and the form of injunction of that responsibility were not sufficient. …  [W]hat gives us all a bad conscience today … is that this concept of responsibility is not sufficient.  That all the categories it implies, that of the subject, of intention, of good will, are not sufficient” (50-51).
  10. In contrast to an explanation of Nazism that would place the blame on a “natural” inclination toward conformism—thus exculpating and inscribing Nazism as the natural unfolding of the human thing (see Gadamer’s comments in the appendix, pp.79-80)—Derrida and Lacoue-Labarthe attempt a more Heideggerian response to the issue of responsibility and of a responsibility to Nazism. This is the singular contribution of the French, and their reading of Heidegger in so far as it assumes that there was a Nazi commitment on the part of the great thinker.  In what follows I do not intend to give a learned account of it, or to even pay tribute to those who have already understood this.  I simply take the opportunity to alert the reader to the opportunity presented by the transcription of the Heidelberg conference to get a glimpse of the far-reaching consequences that reading Heidegger against the grain can have for us today, thirty years on.  (Though it also goes without saying that taking heed of the work of those who have been careful not to ignore all of this must become part of what we acknowledge as our responsibility.)
  11. Derrida sketches what is at stake by way of the issue of the “question of the question.” As he explains it, for some time Heidegger thought the question as piety (Frömmigkeit)—as beyond science and philosophy.  This piety beyond metaphysics went together with the motif of the quest, of a search for principles or an investigation into first causes of foundations (66).  This piety is later (in Unterwegs sur Sprache) linked, in reference to the Greeks, to the fact of being “already docile; docile means he who listens, who is obedient. … questioning is already a listening—a listening to but also of or from the other.  I do not have the initiative, even of the question, even in this piety of thought that is the question” (67).  Before the question, logically and chronologically, before it, there is an acquiescence (Zusage): “this consent to die Sprache without which there would not even be a question” (67).  The issue becomes how to deal with die Sprache: “this attunement to die Sprache—which one cannot translate … neither by ‘language [langue]’, nor by ‘speech [parole]’” (67).
  12. It would be a question of moving too fast if one were to say that die Sprache was language as the house of being. One has said yes even before questioning—but to what?  To whom? This question mark undermines the authority of the question itself.  And this opens another path to access responsibility.
  13. This is the decisive step. Derrida, 1988: “Heidegger spoke all the time about responsibility, responding to the call of being: there would be no responsibility if there were not, already, the call of being that is not the call of someone, of a god ….  I am, even before responding in terms of moral conscience, I am accountable, responsible for a call that comes to me, I know not from where.  It is not God; it is not another consciousness or conscience.  I am imputable.  Dasein is a responsible being, that is, a being that must respond to a call that already constitutes it.  But from that moment, which is the moment of Sein und Zeit and of the years that followed it, under the authority of the question, at the moment of the Zusage, there is already a displacement of the motif of responsibility. …  I am responsible before even knowing for what, or before whom.  It remains for me to know to what, to whom the Zusage will be determined.  It is there that the political risk of the Zusage is very serious.  …  [I]t is one thing, then, to recognize in this yes an absolutely originary responsibility, which I cannot escape, and it is another thing then to determine to what and to whom I say yes when … I accept being responsible for this or that, before this or that instance of authority.  It is there that the matter is determined politically: between the Zusage in general and then the acquiescence to this or that juridico-political instance for this or that act….  There is a step, and this step is the step of what we call ‘juridico-political,’ which is at once ineluctable and undecidable: because it is necessary to traverse the moment of undecidability.  …  There is no possible responsibility that does not undergo the ordeal of this undecidability, and of this impossibility.  I believe that an action, a discourse, a behavior that does not traverse this ordeal of the undecidable, with all the double binds, all the conflicts …, is simply the tranquil unfolding of a program….  The program can be Nazi, democratic, or something else … but if one does not traverse this terrifying ordeal of undecidability, there is no responsibility” (67-69).
  14. Aware of the complexity of the point, Lacoue-Labarthe explains: “[Heidegger] was conscious of the leap he was making between, let’s say, something like the call of being and the leap it was necessary to take in order to become committed” (69).
  15. The example of Heidegger is an extreme one. His work opens the way to think the ungrounding of his own political error; but this is only possible by reading him in a certain way (which is the singular achievement of, principally, Derrida, Nancy, Lacoue-Labarthe).  Heidegger opens the way toward thinking the originary call (of politics), which is not yet political.   When his commitment to the Nazi party is used as a name for the political as radical evil, it is adduced in order to side step or leave unthought the secondary status of the political determination of the call.  The yes is not originarily a yes to God or to a necessary authority.  It is a yes to we-do-not-know-what.  And this not-knowing is nothing less than the ungrounding of the political determination that follows.  This ungrounding is the very possibility of responsibility, for responsibility is only possible if we are able to step back in order to assume that there is no absolute authority that demands obedience in order to assign the call (of politics) to the juridico-political instance of this or that apparatus, whether it is the Nazi apparatus or any other political formation.  Heidegger’s yes is only secondarily a yes to Hitler, and this is not to say that there could have been a primary or primordial yes to a “right” form of politics, but to illuminate that every political determination is always secondary, and can therefore never be absolute.  That is, the militant, or the philosophy for militants, whether it is Heidegger or Badiou’s, can never know if its political determination of the calling, in this or that instance of authority, is the right one.  Responsibility, means, then, not justifying why one is right, but assuming, not that one could be wrong, but that no absolute necessity has ordained that any one particular determination is right.
  16. Are we more prepared today than we were in 1988 to deal with the possible resurgence of fascism? Not at all.  If anything, we are in a more precarious position.  Today what we are witness to, as a possible stop gap to fascism, is the reemergence of a radical militancy that wants nothing more than to declare and “demonstrate” its political determination as the right one.  To the extent that this oppositional force is the only stop gap we have at our disposal against the forces available to figures like Trump, it seems unlikely that we will be able to witness a revolution capable of preventing a new form of fascism.  It remains to us, up to all of us, to interrupt the irresponsibility that enables the efficacy of all the forms of fascist discourse.  This includes our own fascist will to political correctness.
  17. Now, what this entire exposition also exposes is that there has been a recent massive response to a political call, which only by means of an irresponsible denegation of the unnecessary assignation to the juridico-political conservative, and even reactionary, determination, is able to image that what is at issue at the present time has something to do with the plight of the white and rural working class. The populist, or the hegemonic, way to master this circumstance has been traditionally assigned to the role of managing equivalential chains of signification.  Yet, what the gap between call and determination points to is that this choice could have more to do with unacknowledged and ignored ways of being in the world than with the effects of neoliberalism on middle class America.  This does not only point toward unacknowledged visceral racism, it also entails thinking through the rejection of politics that typically lies at the heart of conservative populist movements.  (The recent desire to extricate Trumpism from populism is a wild herring effect of our current nihilist era.)  The rejection of politics should not be met with more politics, even less with morally upright politics.  The people, even according to the old Marxist axiom, have reason.  Even if for the wrong reason.  They have reason in intuiting, in heeding the call of being, which claims abeyance regarding politics as the totalizing discourse of our era.



Books cited

Badiou, Alain. L’Être et l’événement. Paris: Seuil, 1988. Print.

____. Manifeste pour la philosophie. L’Ordre philosophique. Paris: Seuil, 1989. Print.

Derrida, Jacques, Hans-Georg Gadamer, and Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe. Heidegger, Philosophy, and Politics: The Heidelberg Conference. Trans. Fort, Jeff. New York: Fordham University Press, 2016. Print.

Farias, Victor. Heidegger and Nazism. Trans. Burrell, Paul. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1991. Print.

____. Heidegger et le nazisme. Paris: Verdier, 1988. Print.

Žižek, Slavoj. Living in the End Times. New York; London: Verso, 2011. Print.

El relato del bastón torcido: sobre En defensa del populismo de Carlos Fernández Liria. (Gerardo Muñoz)

fernandez-liria-popEn defensa el populismo (Catarata, 2016), del pensador Carlos Fernández Liria, es un libro espinoso que busca instalarse con vehemencia al interior del debate en torno a la política española de los últimos años. Por supuesto, es también un libro abiertamente comprometido con el ascenso de Podemos, y su líder Pablo Iglesias, y sobra decir que su defensa de la ‘centralidad del tablero’ no se presta a equívocos. En efecto, en el prólogo del libro, Luis Alegre Zahonero celebra que Fernández Liria brinde su apoyo a la disputa por los nombres del enemigo, y que recupere para la izquierda nociones como democracia, ciudadano, derechos, o institución en línea con la obra elemental populista: la construcción de un pueblo. El punto de partida de Fernández Liria es volver sobre la textura del lenguaje, y desde ahí colonizar su gramática hasta efectuar un ‘nuevo sentido común’. Aunque Fernández Liria sitúa el problema en un arco de larga duración: al menos desde Platón y Sócrates, el lenguaje siempre ha obedecido al habla en el lenguaje del otro, léase del poderoso, y solo así ha sido capaz de generar escucha.

Según Liria ésta sería la lección decisiva de algunos diálogos socráticos, pero también de los sofistas, en la medida en que ambos discursos lo que se juega no es la verdad, sino su recursividad efectiva. Entonces, de la misma manera que Platón o los sofistas habrían derrumbado la verdad de los poetas, para Liria hoy no hacemos nada en decir verdades a orejas que no lograrían escucharla, puesto que son orejas que están blindadas a la verdad. Por lo tanto, es fundamental jugársela dentro de los límites impuestos por el falsum colectivo si es que se quiere llegar a un mínimo de veracidad. Pero, ¿qué nos dice esto del populismo? En una primera instancia que el discurso populista no depende de una aclamación de la verdad, y todo esfuerzo por desplegarlo en realidad terminaría atropellándose contra el blindaje que el ‘macizo ideológico’ (sic) de la mentira ha superpuesto en su economía general del sentido. El populismo tiene que entrar necesariamente a jugar el juego del sofismo. En un momento significativo para el argumento de Fernández Liria, éste recurre al relato leninista del bastón torcido que conviene citar íntegramente:

“Althusser recurría siempre a una cita de Lenin que hablaba de que para enderezar un bastón torcido no se podía sencillamente mojar la madera y atarla a una guía rectar, porque al soltar la guía el bastón quedaría menos torcido, pero seguiría torcido. Para enderezarlo, es preciso que la guía esté torcida en sentido contrario. Una idea falsa no se puede combatir sencillamente diciendo la verdad, hace falta otra idea falsa de signo contrario para que la verdad tenga alguna oportunidad. Una mentira se corrige diciendo la verdad. Pero en este mundo las ideas están impregnadas de una materialidad que pesa como el plomo, llevan adherido verdaderos sistemas de pasiones y afectos autorreferenciales y tautológicos…En esos casos, mover del sitio una mentira se parece a la tarea de intentar arrastrar un iceberg remando en una pirgua. Si hay que hacerlo es, por el contrario, para que verdad tenga alguna oportunidad en este mundo” (Fernández Liria 37-38).

Estaríamos ahora en condiciones de señalar la segunda dimensión del populismo que maneja Fernández Liria; a saber, que el populismo sería el mejor de los artificios posibles para el rendimiento de la política en un mundo de dilatada mitomanía. Y es esto lo único a lo que el populismo puede aspirar en su inserción social. Aunque según Liria es lo que debe aspirar toda política en tiempos de fin civilizatorio (sic) a causa del ascenso del principio general de equivalencia. No hay más fuera de esto (Fernández Liria 221). No se nos escapa en el fragmento citado anteriormente una cierta traslación leibniziana, donde el gesto de hipostasiar la imaginación política a una combinatoria lingüística es compensatorio de la crisis general de la política misma. Y tampoco es casual que Fernández Liria glose algunas fichas especulativas de Crítica de la Razón Política de Regis Debray, para dar cuenta cómo la maximización de la globalización, así como los experimentos por consolidar el socialismo real durante el pasado siglo, terminaron generando arcaísmos políticos y una perdurable proliferación de mitologías a contrapelo de la racionalidad moderna. De ahí que, si la política moderna de la secularización estuvo siempre caída hacia el nihilismo, entonces no queda otra opción que sostener cierta dosis de religiosidad edificante para retener cierta ‘calderilla antropológica’ (sic) contra el perpetuo ‘desnivel prometeico’ de la maquinación neoliberal. En estos trámites de compensación, la opción es solo una:

“Hace falta un populismo de izquierdas que, consiente de la necesidad de pertenencia tribal del ser humano, conocedor de que el mundo político tiene sus propios resortes y sabedor de que no se puede eliminar la superstición, sino, todo lo más, contribuir a su civilización, sea capaz de enderezar las energías populares a favor de instituciones republicanas” (Fernández Liria 159).

De esta manera, los capítulos “Razón y Cristianismo” y el epílogo “Progreso y Populismo”, apuestan a un registro mítico del populismo como interface o suplemento arcaico capaz de sostener lo mejor del Republicanismo, su ideal institucional, y estado de derecho. Estamos muy lejos, o casi en la posición contrapuesta a la invitación de José Luis Villacañas explicitada en Populismo (Huerta Grande, 2015), a la cual Liria alude, pero tan solo para subordinarla a su lógica principial de populismo. El sustento que alienta la teoría de Liria remite explícitamente a la lógica de hegemonía como vehículo monoestático para alcanzar y finalmente conquistar el llamado ‘sentido común’. Escribe Liria: “El mayor error que podría cometer un populismo de izquierdas sería renunciar a la defensa de esta objetividad republicana. Es más, esta defensa de la objetividad república es más bien lo único que puede convertir al populismo en un populismo de izquierdas” (Fernández Liria 109).

Si para Liria el populismo es más cercano a la Ilustración que al jacobinismo, no es porque tenga como referente último la legitimidad institucional y los derechos del hombre, sino porque el vaciamiento de estos principios hoy hace posible que el populismo les dispute el campo semántico a categorías de peso en la tradición. A diferencia de Villacañas, para quien el republicanismo pudiera aflorar como posibilidad poshegemónica y breakthrough del impasse del ‘momento populista’; en la defensa del populismo de Fernández Liria, el republicanismo y la institución son significantes y estructuras que permiten hipostasiar el pensamiento en nombre del sentido común en tanto hegemonía. En otras palabras, mientras que la deriva republicana de Villacañas busca pensar la política democrática para tiempos de interregno, el llamado ‘populismo-republicano’ de Liria funciona a la palestra de extender el presupuesto schmittiano de la enemistad. Este es, al fin y al cabo, la pieza última de la ‘defensa populista’, por la cual a pesar de todas las piruetas por distanciarse de Laclau – y que quizás implícitamente es uno de los flancos de un tipo de discursividad que ‘no convence’ en tiempos poshegemónica para Liria – reaparece acoplada sobre los mismos términos. De hecho, Liria no cambia nada de la matriz de la hegemonía entendida como reducción culturalista enchufada a la voluntad de poder. Veamos:

“…la hegemonía se ejerce, fundamentalmente, apropiándose de lo que solemos llamar el “sentido común”. Es allí, en el sentido común de la población, donde se produce la secreta mutación de los intereses particulares en intereses generales de la colectividad. Es por lo que los marxistas repitieron tanto eso de la ideología de una sociedad era siempre la ideología de la clase dominante…Es ahí donde se disputa lo que podríamos llamar “la ficción de una voluntad general”. Así pues, la lucha política es, ante todo, una lucha por la hegemonía, una lucha, por tanto, por instalarse en el sentido común de la población de manera que los propios intereses hagan pasar por los intereses de la voluntad general” (Fernández Liria 51-52).

El llamado a más hegemonía, a pesar de su apelación a la Ilustración o a la posibilidad republicana, desafortunadamente termina siendo una variante más del voluntarismo político propio del cierre onto-teológico, donde la estructuración del contrato social y la factura culturalista terminan por agotar las opciones de otra política. Y así, lo que solicita Fernández Liria, al igual que la que ha venido pidiendo Alan Badiou, es desde un principio una política para convencidos, o para militantes, o para quienes quieran creerse ‘el cuento’ [1]. Pero es también aquí donde el juego sofista entra en aprietos, puesto que, si la subsunción real del capital genera la más densa mitología del consumo y la publicidad, ¿qué puede hacer la hegemonía, sino fracasar ante ello, o bien ofrecer un contra-mito siempre limitado o insuficiente? O simplemente arribista, acotado a la ‘coyuntura’ sin más. Sin duda, la apuesta por un contra-mito tampoco es novedosa, y no habría muchas diferencias a la solución de Carl Schmitt en su conocido ensayo sobre la instrumentalización del mito en el nacional-socialismo contra la neutralización ejercida desde la ‘habladuría’ parlamentaria [2].

Pero estos fueron esfuerzos por una totalización de la política que se ha arruinado en nuestros tiempos, y sin embargo es la condición mínima para que Liria pueda echar a andar la fuerza apropiativa de la hegemonía como motor de conflicto, y de existencia en común durante tiempos de crisis. En cualquier caso, Liria no logra avanzar más allá del esquematismo constitutivo entre Ilustración y crisis que encuadra el gran relato de la soberanía popular desde la revolución francesa, y del cual la teoría de la hegemonía tendría que hacerse cargo de manera más delicada. De otra manera los sofismos antropológicos serán mellados por el tiempo efectivo del capital sin muchos reparos por las fantasías equivalenciales diagramadas sobre las lenguas comunicacionales.

Pero Liria no hace concesiones, y hacia el final del libro sentencia: “En todo caso, un auténtico cosmopolitismo no podrá jamás suprimir algo así como el Estado nación. Siempre seremos seres humanos y naceremos por ‘el coño de nuestra madre, aprenderemos a hablar en algo así como la familia y tendremos una identidad personal y tribal que tendrá que ser gestionada políticamente” (Fernández Liria 236). La pregunta que tendríamos que hacerle a la ‘defensa del populismo’ de Liria es si acaso, su ‘nuevo’ ‘populismo-republicano’ podría ser algo más que una tribulación antropológica entregada al pastoreo gubernamental, una contra-hegemonía de la dominación desde una metapolítica del pueblo. Y si así es, el relato del ‘bastón torcido’ es una teoría de ‘bandazos’, como le ha llamado recientemente Villacañas, ya que no puede convencer ni atraer a nadie en tiempos poshegemónicos [3]. Liria exige que mantengamos la vista fija sobre el listón de madera mientras el abismo que desfonda la política sigue su curso por debajo. El bastón, entonces, es principalmente un fetiche y la exigencia una plegaria.

¿Pero no sería hora de arrojar el bastón? Luego de la lectura de En defensa del populismo queda muy claro que hegemonía como suelo que agota la política es el principio ineludible del sentido común. Y es esa la razón por lo que Luis Alegre tilda de “pensadores perezosos o cobardes” a quienes se afanaban por inventar ‘cosas mejores’ (sic), esto es, cualquier cosa que no sea hegemonía (Fernández Liria 13). O bien pueda Liria exhibir a aquellos que, en lugar de ofrecer sus vidas a la teología de la liberación, “estaban intentado descifrar a Derrida o dándole vueltas y vueltas al insondable misterio que ellos llamaban el dilema del prisionero” (Fernández Liria 149). Aunque quizás la inventiva de ese hombre perezoso y poshistórico, tal y como lo pensaba Alexandre Kojeve, sea la que menos rebusque en los basureros intelectuales de la izquierda. Ese perezoso hombre poshegemónico, es cierto, no ofrece proezas salvíficas o descalificaciones altisonantes, pero tal vez remitiría a un tiempo de democracia más allá de fábulas antropológicas que hoy solo pueden sucumbir a la indiferencia generalizada, o bien a rechineos para espabilar solo a unos cuantos.





  1. Es lo que propone Badiou con su noción de “nueva gran ficción” en “Politics as a nonexpressive dialectics”, en Philosophy for Militants (Verso, 2012).
  2. Carl Schmitt. “La teoría política del mito” (1923). Carl Schmitt: Teólogo de la Política (Orestes Aguilar, ed., 2001).
  3. José Luis Villacañas. “Podemos, la hora decisiva”.

‘Chasing the hare with the ox, swimming against the swelling tide’: Towards a Posthegemonic Institutionality. (Gerardo Muñoz)

*(Paper read at the workshop “Left Behind: The Ends of Latin America’s Left Turns”, held at Simon Fraser University, December 5, 2016. Organized by Jon Beasley-Murray.)

In an important moment of Alberto Moreiras’ new book Marranismo e inscripción (2016) we read: “La sospecha de no ser lo suficiente correctos en política, con todo el misterio terrífico que esa determinación tiene en la academia [norteamericana], pesó siempre sobren nuestras cabezas como una grave espada de Damocles y todavía pesa…” (Moreiras 125). It might be a good ocassion to say upfront that the waning of the progressive cycle in Latin America will most likely revive old affective demands and well-known pieties that the Left never affords to give up. Someone will be blamed for the broken plates, and the burden of those “left behind”. But this moment should be seized to think not what ‘politics’ should or must do (in Latin America and beyond), but rather how to think politics in what already is taking place. Or to question if perhaps the political today amounts to nothing more than what Arnaut Daniel said of the poet: “[He] chases the hare with the ox, swims against the swelling tide”. Can the paralysis of politics be something other than hunting or resistance?

As this 2016 comes to a close, we have witnessed a series of drawbacks in the political landscape of Latin America: from the outcome of the referendum in Bolivia to the electoral victory of Mauricio Macri’s PRO in Argentina, not to speak of Dilma Rousseff parliamentary impeachment in Brazil. There has been other lesser-known events, although no less disturbing, such as Roxana Pey’s arbitrary dismissal as First President of Universidad de Aysén by the current Chilean Minister of Culture after proposing a debt free and non-corporate public education. The sense of ‘exhaustion’ is at the thicket of the progressive cycle and has only deepened in the last two years, although this prognosis is more than just a motto of ‘ultra-leftistism’. Recently, high profile figures of the so-called Pink Tide governments have also voiced a sense of political stagnation and defunct space to reignite the original rhythm that took place at the turn of the century.

Just about a week ago, in a conversation that took place at Columbia University between philosopher Étienne Balibar and Vice-President of Bolivia Alvaro Garcia Linera, the latter stated that we are now in turbulent times where no horizon is in clear sight. It might be true that the unsettling remark might have partly been influenced in the wake of Fidel Castro’s death as the symptom of Latin American Left’ symbolic orphanhood, although Castro died far from leaving a relevant political legacy. I think many will agree that the guerrilla warfare, the Partido Único, or the concept of ‘struggle’ plays no role in the future of the Latin American Lefts. Yet such announcement from the Vice-President of the Bolivian Plurinational State seems to put to a halt the deep political conviction for transformation that he himself theorized in a wide range of orienting categories such as ‘creative contradictions’, ‘planetary ayllu’, or ‘communist horizon’.

The deficiency of a visible political vista means that we are in times of interregnum; a time when the modern epochality is left behind and a new one that has yet to materialize. The interregnum describes an extraneous temporality that fissures the antinomies of architectonics of modern politics – autorictas and potestas, constituent and constituted power, legitimacy and legality – carrying the very economy between thought and action in a threshold of indeterminacy. At the closure of epochality we are obliged to rethink once again the limits of the Latinamericanist conditions of reflection in light of the contemporary transformation of the space or object of knowledge that we call Latin America. A few years ago, John Beverley made an attempt to propose a new paradigm in his Latinamericanism after 9/11 (2011) under the preliminary notion of post-subalternism, which he defined as an alliance between subaltern and the new progressive State:

“The question of Latinamericanism is, ultimately, a question of the identity of the Latin American state…I would like to suggest here an alternative that is post-subaltenrist, ‘post’ in the sense that it displaces the subaltenrist paradigm but is also a consequence of that paradigm in that it involves rethinking the nature of the state and of the national popular from the perspectives opened by subaltern studies. …This possibility has a double dimension: how can the state itself be radicalized and modified as a consequence of bringing into it demands, values, experiences from the popular subaltern sectors, and how, in turn, from the state, can society can be remade in a more redistributive, egalitarian, culturally diverse way (how hegemony might be constructed from the state, in other words). (Beverley 110-116)”.

The post-subalternist option largely depends on the temporalization of the State-people alliance, which leaves pressing questions relative to State form and patterns of accumulation untouched, or any excess that disrupts the culturalist consensus at the heart of every hegemonic articulation. The problem that arises from this specific conceptual design is that with the rise of the New Rights, which continue to operate on the basis of the expansion of social inclusion through consumption, the hegemony of a ‘non-State that acts as a State’ (another way through which Beverley defines postsubalternism), will be set to accomplish two simultaneous tasks: on the one hand, contain and polish the heterogeneity or savage dimension of ‘the people’ into the metaphoricity of national-popular representation; while on the other, reducing the State’s structures and institutions to the management of geopolitical processes and rent distribution. In a rather counterintuitive way, the post-sulbanternist option reenacts the decionism from the instrumentalization of the state as the exception to post-sovereign capital in the name of the people.

At the same time, facticity is now fully post-subalternist, but for the opposite reasons as those imagined by Beverley: hegemony’s de-hiearchization and economic administration convergences with the neoliberal general equivalent as real subsumption of capital renders hegemonic politics obsolete for substantial change. Ultimately, post-subalternist alliance curbs posthegemonic temporal intrusion, which forces a relentless displacement of its object of identification to disregard the constitutive tragic repetition of the fissure in its closure.

Post-subalternism is an attempt to reawake the specter of hegemony from the ruins of the political: from the inside it stands politics of subjectivization by the State, and from the outside, as a metapolitical form of order (katechon) to detain internal social explosion (Williams 61).

In recent years the post-subalternist paradigm has been somewhat displaced by what I have called elsewhere a ‘communal or communitarian turn’ (Muñoz 2016). Raquel Gutierrez Aguilar, a key thinker of communal horizontalism and also the author of the influential book Los ritmos de Pachakuti: Movilización y levantamiento indígena-popular en Bolivia (2008), at the end of last year conjured a radical turn towards the “communal” as the site for a new political program. In a more urgent tone, Huascar Salazar Lohman in Se han adueñado del proceso de lucha (2015) defines the position as following:

“Lo relevante es afirmar que la transformación heterogénea y multiforme que emerge de los entramados comunitarios implica la capacidad de dar forma a su reproducción de la vida social, trastocando, trans-formando o reformando la propia forma de la dominación…La manera en que los entramados comunitarios enfrentan al capital es a partir de vetos que permiten conservar, establecer, o restablecer relaciones sociales para reproducción la vida. En este sentido, el telos o el horizonte de deseo que media la lucha comunitaria es el despliegue de su propia forma de reproducir la vida, es decir, ampliar su capacidad de formación” (Salazar Lohman 35).

For both Gutierrez Aguilar and Salazar Lohman, the communitarian horizon requires breaking away from the dichotomy of civil society and State in order to relocate the temporal vitality of an autonomous re-production of life and the re-appropriation of that which the state has expropriated from communal property. However, if the communitarian form is not determined a priori by domination and capital, why is the emancipatory potential of the communitarianism emphasized solely on the basis of re-appropriation of what is valorized in the State? Salazar Huascar himself provides the answer to us when alluding to Bolivar Echevarria’s reconceptualization of the notion of use-value as yielding something like an inner exception within the logic of exchange. Communitarism, then, re-translates use-value as locational propriety.

Ironically, this is not very different from Álvaro Garcia Linera’s own attempt to “restore the communal (ayllu), against the logics of subsumption, through a re-functioning of culture and democracy and the recent juridical-political attempting to contain the ‘cunning of capital’ as it imposes its logics through its others…” (Kraniauskas 48). Although it seems the polar opposite of Huascar’s position, Garcia Linera’s instrumentalization of the communitarian through use-value mediates an indianization of the subject of social emancipation in the ‘community form’” (Kraniauskas 48). In fact, communitarianism ends up offering yet another exceptional particularism legitimized by the normative assumption of propriety and properness via-a-vis collective decision-making ( as ‘participacion directa y obligatoria’), and an alternative biopolitics of the ‘reproduction of life’ (reproducción de la vida). Communitarianism as a locational politics of resistance is already contained in the State’s shadow of community use-value, which is inverted on behalf of communitarian decisionism.

A similar paradox is at the heart of Diego Sztulwark and Veronica Gago’s essay that expands the temporality of the ‘end’ of the Latin American progressive cycle from below. On the one hand, they note that neoliberalism runs parallel to constituting a governmentality from above, and is also “inextricably linked to popular consumption, apparatuses of indebtness, and new forms of violence” as two dynamics that permute and sustain one another” from below (Gago & Sztulwark 610). While discerning the spectral dimension of contemporary flexible capital, they immediately move on to claim that it is on this plane where new counter-powers are transformed, modes of weaving together a resistance and a set of practical actions for political efficacy… (Gago & Sztulwark 612). However, counter-hegemonic subjective vitalism is already captured by the plasticity of financial subjectivization. Thus, this new vitalism framed solely as resistance only lifts political imagination to the domain of stasis or civil war already taking place in the territories, in which the struggle for subsistence takes the form of a neo-Francicanism eschatology (minimal relation to propriety) immanent to the financial subaltern bodies.

I would like to suggest that the two reflexive options sketched above, that of a post-subaltern state and the particular communitarian horizon, coincide in fashioning a politics of resistance after the closure of hegemonic principles. At the same time, the failure of hegemonic theory in the region is in this sense neither accidental nor limited to the temporalization of the so-called progressive cycle, since it also characteristic of the phenomenology of the originary fissure in the State form over the last two hundred years.

Hegemony or hegemon as an ultimate ontology of the political constitutes itself as a phantasm, which following Reiner Schürmann, denies the tragic dimension of the singular, translating norms and legislating laws in the name of its own sovereign principle. A phantasm is hegemonic when an entire culture relies on it as if it provided that in the name of which one speaks and acts. Such a chief-represented (hêgemôn) is at work upon the unspeakable singular classifying, inscribing, and distributing proper and commonality (Schürmann 22). In this sense, communitarianism and state hegemony are not just contending procedures of political decisionism, but more importantly, the two poles of a same structure waged on life as ultimate referent.

This is why, according to Schürmann, there is a “kind of joy of violent submission to it. Perhaps the intoxication they wish for us, or that we wish for ourselves through them” (Schürmann 29). To the extent that is waged on life, there has always been hegemony, although only as a phantasmatic economy to flatten and systematically erase the time of the tragic, whenever it appears to interrupt and ascend into the political principle. This is the time of the singular that is neither reducible to a subject in the eventfulness of history (a movement, a people or a multitude), nor a cultural schematization of identity and difference.

The challenge for thought is necessarily post-hegemonic, which I define as the potentiality for institutionalization of the tragic (singularity) in the anomic epoch of neoliberal administration. It is no coincide that both communitarian and hegemonic options define themselves against institutions, and they both respond to the moment of crisis of political epochality. A reformulation of an institutional form can mediate the ever-present pendulum movement that oscillates from neoliberal deregulation to the populist anti-institutionalism and back. But it so happens that populism does not posses a theory of institutionality, therefore is in no condition of providing a strategy to cope with the movement of the pendulum (Villacañas 2016). Since populism is always a decision on a concrete existential situation, it always remains attached to the perpetuity of the state of crisis as a decision made on and for life (understood in the Greek sense of krisis as judgment). As such, populism is the temporality of expropriation, and its process of abstractation into finite demands coincides with the money form (general equivalent) that structures the contemporary financial body of the living.

In the introduction to their edited volume Left Turns (2010), Beasley-Murray & Cameron & Herschberg noted that “if the Latin American states are to survive their current crisis of legitimacy they then need to be better funded, more efficient, and more reflexive of public preferences…the entire political class confronts the challenge of refunding the Latin American State” (Cameron & Herschberg 6). This was the promise and the stakes .Since then, the Latin American Progressive Cycle’s extreme presidencialism led to the withering of institutionalization making it easier for an accelerated restructuring of the State’s institutions by the New Rights technocrats. As the populist interpellation between friend and enemy evaporates in each political cycle, the price to be paid is life as thetic communitarian identity formation or as counter-hegemonic biopolitical vitalism. Constitutional scholar Bruce Ackerman alerts in his The Decline and Fall of the American Republic (2010) that the expansion of the powers of the ‘most dangerous branch’ (executive) effectively prepares the ground for an ominous neoliberal anti-institutionalization. This is what lurks in United States’ political future after the President-elect Donald Trump, and more generally, what haunts the spatial configuration of every western state’s void of legitimacy.

A posthegemonic institutionality for post-hegemonic times seeks the thinking of another relation with the political that is not reducible to the principle of a hegemonic phantasm as the oblivion of its own excess to equivalence. But perhaps more importantly here is how to think a posthegemonic institutional form that that would break away from the indeterminate concrescence of law as always already short-handed for internal exceptionality in order to redirect and put in motion the temporality of development. Thus, a posthegemonic institutionality will thrive to move beyond a notion of interruption or an insurrectionary moment dispensed in the phantasm of hegemony.

How can we imagine a form of life instituted not only in its irreducibility to the movement of vital ‘rhythm’, but in the arrival of the day after, when the last lights have gone off, after everyone has returned home, and mobilization gives way to demobilization? In his book on the Spartacist uprising, Furio Jesi says that the ‘decisive day of freedom’ is that which takes place the day after tomorrow, in which the time of living is not exhausted in life or death (Jesi 134). The crucial distinction here is a temporal one: living against life or death.

To institutionalize not life in the frame of biopolitics or communitarism, constituent power as passage to constituted power, but a destituent time of the living. The day after tomorrow is posthegemonic demobilization as distance from political ontology and its conversion into metapolitical community. Only by institutionalizing the temporality of an improper singularity could something like an inequivalent and ungraspable form of democracy and radical freedom could be conceived as the new truth in and beyond politics.


Ackerman, Bruce. The Decline and Fall of the American Republic. Boston: Harvard University Press, 2010.

Beverley, John. Latinamericanism after 9/11. Durham: Duke University Press, 2011.

Cameron, Maxwell & Herschberg, Eric. Latin America’s Left Turns: Politics, Policies, and Trajectories of Change. Boulder: Reinner Publishers, 2010.

Gago Verónica & Sztulwark Diego. “The Temporality of Social Struggle at the End of the “Progressive” Cycle” in Latin America”. SAQ, 115:3, July 2016.

Kraniauskas, John. “Universalizing the ayllu”. Radical Philosophy, 192, July-August, 2015.

Moreiras, Alberto. Marranismo e inscripción. Madrid: Escolar & Mayo, 2016.

Muñoz Gerardo (ed.). “The End of the Latin American Progressive Cycle” (dossier). Alternautas (3.1, July 2016).

Salazar Lohman, Huascar. “Se Han adueñado del proceso de lucha”: horizonte comunitario-populares en tensión y la reconstitución de la dominación en la Bolivia del MAS. La Paz: autodeterminación, 2015.

Schürmann, Reiner. Broken Hegemonies. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2003.

Villacañas, José Luis. Populismo. Madrid: La Huerta Grande, 2015.

Williams, Gareth. “Los límites de la hegemonía”. Poshegemonía: el final de un paradigma de la filosofía política en América Latina (Castro Orellana, ed.). Madrid: Biblioteca Nueva, 2015.

Open Letter on Freedom of Expression in the Academic Field//Carta abierta sobre la libertad de expresión en el campo académico.

thRecent egregious instances of unprofessional behavior that must remain unexplicit for the sake of third parties motivate this open letter. The signatories wish to reject exclusionary practices—happening with increasing frequency–against scholars interested in the theoretical field of infrapolitics, many of them affiliated to departments of Spanish and Latin American Studies in US universities. Ranging from denying researchers the right to share their work with interested colleagues (blocking invitations, blocking participation in professional conferences), through passive and active censorship of research agendas, to active discrimination in the job market, these practices are most often exerted upon graduate students and junior faculty–the most vulnerable members in our profession. Those of us who are old enough to remember previous moments in the life of the field, for instance, early days of deconstruction, or subaltern studies, or feminism, or queer studies, are also experienced enough to know that the damage that this kind of attitude does to intellectual practice in general is insidious. Freedom of expression is threatened at its core by the setting of limits of discourse one must not transgress. The consequence of such behavior is far from only affecting specifically marked scholars every now and then. More importantly, it has internal institutional effects as it produces and performs ideological subordination that should be abhorrent to common university folk in the name of plain decency and the dignity of thought. And, not least, it hurts careers, or keeps them from taking off without compliance. To be sure, no one is obliged to invite anyone at all to engage in a conversation, but there is a line that should not be crossed, and that is the line of the explicit ban of trends of thought from certain institutional spaces because they are deemed dangerous to a professional discourse that must apparently be policed by privileged self-appointed guardians. We are calling for basic respect for diversity and freedom of thought, and we are denouncing the sinister effects of intellectual repression. In the middle of a political transition whose bearing upon university life is to be feared, at a time in which lists of inconvenient professors are being prepared by the radical right, those of us signing this letter wish to express our rejection of craven institutional censorship based on what to us is only hatred of experimentation and innovation in thought. We welcome disagreement and critical engagement, not the imposition of ideological compliance. By their very nature, these events tend to happen in relative secrecy and impunity, and publicly explicit resistance to the undermining of freedom of expression in our general field of Spanish and Latin American Studies is perhaps rare. We fear this letter will not be enough, but we are prepared to continue in our efforts.

Ciertos casos recientes de conducta profesional señaladamente impropia, que quedan sin explicitarse para proteger a terceras personas, motivan la escritura de esta carta abierta. Los firmantes deseamos denunciar prácticas excluyentes—que suceden con frecuencia creciente—contra estudiosos interesados en el campo teórico de la infrapolítica, muchos de ellos afiliados a departamentos de estudios hispánicos y latinoamericanos en universidades norteamericanas. Estas prácticas, que van desde negar a investigadores el derecho a compartir su trabajo con colegas interesados (bloqueando invitaciones, bloqueando participación en conferencias profesionales), a la censura tanto pasiva como activa de programas de investigación, hasta la discriminación activa en el mercado profesional, se ejercen particularmente sobre estudiantes graduados y el profesorado joven—los grupos más vulnerables de la profesión. Algunos de los mayores entre nosotros, que recordamos momentos anteriores en la vida del campo, por ejemplo, los días tempranos de la deconstrucción o de los estudios subalternos, del feminismo o de los estudios queer, tenemos también suficiente experiencia para saber que el daño que este tipo de actitud causa en la práctica intelectual en general es insidioso. La libertad de expresión se ve amenazada en su mismo seno al establecerse límites del discurso que uno jamás debe transgredir. Las consecuencias de tal asecho no sólo afectan de vez en cuando a investigadores específicamente marcados. Aún peor, tal conducta tiene efectos institucionales internos, pues produce y desempeña una subordinación ideológica que la gente normal de la universidad debería aborrecer en nombre de la decencia y de la dignidad del pensamiento. Y además daña carreras profesionales, o impide que puedan siquiera empezar si no se doblan. Por supuesto que nadie está obligado a invitar a nadie, ni a debatir o conversar con nadie, pero existe una línea que no se debe cruzar, y es la línea de la prohibición explícita del acceso a ciertos espacios institucionales de tendencias de pensamiento que se consideran peligrosas para un discurso profesional que aparentemente debe ser vigilado por guardianes autodesignados en situación de decidir. Exigimos respeto básico por la libertad y diversidad de pensamiento y denunciamos los efectos siniestros de la represión intelectual. Justo en un momento de transición política cuyas consecuencias sobre la vida universitaria pueden ser temibles, cuando empieza a haber listas de profesores indeseables preparadas por la extrema derecha, nosotros los firmantes queremos expresar nuestro rechazo a la cobarde censura institucional basada en lo que nos parece odio por la innovación y experimentación en el pensamiento. Por supuesto que invitamos la disputa y el debate crítico, pero no la imposición de obediencia ideológica. Por su naturaleza misma, este tipo de situaciones tienden a suceder en el relativo secreto y en la impunidad, y la resistencia pública y explícita al quiebre de la libertad de expresión en nuestro campo de estudios hispánicos y latinoamericanos tiende a ser escasa. Tememos que esta carta no sea suficiente, pero estamos preparados para continuar nuestros esfuerzos.

Signed by/Firmado por:

Angel Octavio Alvarez Solis, Jorge Alvarez Yágüez, Peter Baker, Matías Bascuñán, Jon Beasley-Murray, Belén Castañón Moreschi, Maddalena Cerrato, Pablo Domínguez Galbraith, Marco Dorfsman, Patrick Dove, Guillermo García Ureña, Humberto Jose Gonzalez Nuñez, John Kraniauskas, Gaëlle Le Calvez, Juan Leal, Brett S. Levinson, Arturo Leyte, Benjamín Mayer Foulkes, Ronald Mendoza-de Jesús, Alberto Moreiras, Camila Moreiras, Cristina Moreiras, Gerardo Muñoz, Sara Nadal-Melsió, Carolina A. Navarrete González, César Pérez, Juan Carlos Quintero-Herencia, Lindsey Reuben, Carlos Rodríguez, Jaime Rodríguez Matos, Michela Russo, Willy Thayer, Djurdja Trajkovic, José Valero, Teresa M. Vilarós-Soler, José Luis Villacañas Berlanga, Sergio Villalobos-Ruminott, Gareth Williams.