Sobre el vicio de la polémica

IMG_5254En sus entradas inspiradas por esta discusión sobre el libro de Cercas, Alberto ha tocado sobre varios temas que son todos dignos de discusión pero que, creo, cabe distinguir entre sí:

  1. Elección de autores (sobre quién escribir). Citando a Deleuze, Alberto formula una especie de mandamiento o principio intelectual: no pierdas el tiempo en leer —ni mucho menos en escribir sobre— quien no te guste, con quien no sientas sintonía. En otras palabras: evita escribir en contra. Es más divertido y digno escribir a favor. No vale la pena entrar voluntariamente en la negatividad.
  2. Elección de textos. Es mejor evitar el ruido. Es mejor dedicarse a escribir sobre libros (duraderos) que artículos o columnas (efímeros).
  3. Es mejor acercarse a los textos con la mente abierta, dispuest@ a ceder el beneficio de la duda.
  4. Hay que evitar medir un texto según criterios impuestos, ajenos o preconcebidos. Por ejemplo: no tenemos por qué leer un texto literario (o autógrafo, como este de Cercas) según criterios políticos.
  5. A la hora de escribir sobre los textos de otr@s, es mejor evitar la agresividad, los argumentos ad hominem, el castigo cruel (“dar caña”).

A mí me pasa algo curioso. En principio —y creo que incluso temperamentalmente— estoy completamente de acuerdo con que estos consejos intelectuales o principios vitales son dignos de acatar: ¿quién se puede oponer a su combinación de generosidad, modestia, buenos modales y actitud zen? Y sin embargo me dejo tentar una y otra vez a escribir sobre autores cuyos textos me chirrían o sublevan; me veo compelido a someterlos a un juicio analítico y desapasionado pero desde la desconfianza y sin dorar la píldora (más bien haciéndola menos tragable).

¿Por qué? Creo que este vicio mío responde a una serie de motivos, algunos defendibles y otros menos defendibles. Entre los los motivos defendibles, se me ocurren cuatro:

  1. La polémica —el debate intenso mantenido en público— puede ser un género productivo, entretenido e instructivo. Obliga a sus participantes a expresarse con más claridad. Incrementa la Y permite que el público comprenda qué es lo que está en juego.
  2. Estética: una pelea intensa, como un partido de fútbol o esgrima, tiene su propio encanto. Aunque se pierda.
  3. Si hay textos y autores que defienden ideas discutibles o cuestionables, es bueno que se discutan y cuestionen públicamente. Sobre todo si esas ideas sirven para legitimar prácticas y estructuras nocivas o injustas.
  4. Si los autores en cuestión no sólo son poderosos (es decir: premiados, celebrados, con pleno o monopólico acceso a espacios de publicación masivos o de prestigio), sino que su comodidad en el poder les tienta a comportarse de forma cuestionable, irresponsable, poco exigente o crítico consigo mismos, entonces se justifica una aproximación más despiadada, menos dispuesta a ceder el beneficio de la duda. Sobre todo si su presencia excluye (pasiva o activamente) a otras voces más interesantes, dignas, rigurosas, jóvenes, disidentes o creativas.

Entre los motivos menos defendibles estarían los siguientes:

  1. Efectismo: voluntad de chocar, de épater, de provocar a los carcas y de impresionar positivamente a un público afín.
  2. Arrogancia: confirmar la creencia de ser más listo que el contrincante.
  3. Instinto competitivo: querer ganarle la batalla al oponente, porque sí.
  4. Tentación de riesgo: un elemento poco común en la vida profesional del académico con puesto fijo.

Estoy de acuerdo con Alberto con que hay que evitar en lo posible la condena de antemano y porque sí; es decir, la lógica amigo-enemigo, la lógica de lealtades personales o políticas a prueba de bombas; es decir, la gratuidad y la pereza intelectual. En lo que no estoy de acuerdo con Alberto es en su idea —que parece sugerir en un comentario en Facebook— de que la popularidad de un autor debería incitarnos (quizás sobre todo a los que nos colocamos a la izquierda) a darle mayor beneficio de la duda. (“¿Podemos, desde una izquierda al menos profesada si no real, decir que es “mala” una novela que recibe cientos de miles de lectores? Eso es que consideramos idiotas a sus lectores. Y eso no es tan de izquierdas.”) A decir verdad, y con todo respeto, me parece un argumento un poco ad hoc que no sé si el propio Alberto suscribiría si se tratara de otro autor que le guste menos que Cercas.

Polémica Francisco Espinosa-Luciano Fernández. Más sobre Cercas. Por Alberto Moreiras.

IMG_5254

 

http://www.eldiario.es/tribunaabierta/Javier-Cercas-mundo-egoficcion_6_622647752.html

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/7463724/Ante%20las%20mentiras%20de%20Francisco%20Espinosa%20sobre%20Javier%20Cercas.pdf

Creo que están claras las cosas entre Espinosa y Fernández y no es necesario glosarlas.   Justo encima de estas líneas están los enlaces a sus respectivos artículos.  Pero yo comparto la pregunta perpleja de Fernández:  ¿por qué?  Y arriesgo una hipótesis: porque lo de la hegemonía ha lavado de tal insólita manera el cerebro del personal, que hay que animarse a tomar posturas contrahegemónicas o sí o sí, y al carajo con las formas.  Una vez identificado Cercas como un intelectual hegemónico ya es diana de feria.  El juego es ponerse en contra.  Pero esto es muy poco serio, y políticamente un grave error.  Que el conflicto sea irreducible en la política no quiere decir que el conflicto (de interpretaciones) y su radicalización en ataques personales pueda confundirse con lo que conviene hacer políticamente.   Por ahí no vamos a ningún lado.  El otro día colgaba un amigo una vieja cita de Gilles Deleuze que podemos adaptar mutatis mutandis.  Yo creo que no hay que pasarse necesariamente al extremo recomendado por Deleuze, se puede criticar cuando es justo hacerlo, cuando hacerlo ayuda a entender mejor.  Pero no para desentender mejor.

“Encuentren lo que les gusta, no pasen jamás un segundo criticando algo o a alguien. Nunca, nunca, nunca critiquen. Y si los critican a ustedes digan: “de acuerdo” y sigan, no hay nada que hacer. Encuentren sus moléculas. Si no las encuentran, ni siquiera pueden leer. Leer es eso, es encontrar vuestras propias moléculas. Están en los libros. Vuestras moléculas cerebrales están en los libros. Yo creo que nada es más triste en los jóvenes en principio dotados que envejecer sin haber encontrado los libros que verdaderamente hubieran amado. Y generalmente no encontrar los libros que uno ama, o no amar finalmente ninguno, da un temperamento… y de golpe uno se hace el sabio sobre todos los libros. Es una cosa rara. Nos volvemos amargos. Ustedes conocen la especie de amargura de ese intelectual que se venga contra los autores por no haber sabido encontrar a aquellos que amaba…”  (Deleuze, “En medio de Spinoza”).

Si no te gusta el estilo de Cercas, encuéntrate a otro que te guste.  Pero radiar contra Cercas, o contra cualquier otro, por estas razones, me parece una forma un tanto caprichosa de perder el tiempo envenenando el cotarro.   Como decía Spinoza, ‘caute.’

 

The Russian Revolution and the Inception of Latin American Marxism: Marx at the Margins and the Problem of History. By Sergio Villalobos-Ruminott

 

Richard Lindner-Boy with Machine (1954).png

 

I have been asked to present on the impact the Russian Revolution had on Latin American intellectual and social history, which is a complex topic, to be sure. And I should start by recognizing that this is a necessary task, a task that will have as its gravitational center the figure of José Carlos Mariátegui, the Peruvian thinker who is among the most relevant figures of Latin American Marxism. However, it is almost impossible to be just with Mariátegui and with the impact of the Revolution on Latin American history in a short paper, reason for which I have opted for presenting some preliminary glosses around a problem that I would claim is the defining problem of the Latin American Marxist constellation. Indeed, Latin American Marxism is a symptomatic place to deal with the problem of history and, from Mariátegui on, the problem of history would be at the center of the multiple re-elaborations of the relationship between Marx and Latin America. I hope to make this clear by the end of these glosses.

However, before moving to my main arguments, I would like to state a couple of disclaimers that could be helpful to understand them. First, I do not claim Marxism as a commanding force, a philosophical authority or an enabling theoretical articulation that would have triggered Latin American insurrectional processes during the 20th century. On the contrary, Latin American social processes, their singularity, are to be understood as analytically and chronologically previous to any theoretical configuration. Second, and as a consequence of the former, a sort of anachronism would have always characterized Latin American Marxism, an anachronism due basically to the incongruence between the theoretical model of its “theory of history and of historical development” and the specific historical condition of the region. These two elements explain better our claim, to say, Latin American Marxism was, in general, oriented to produce an alternative narrative about Latin America’s historical evolution, and consequently, Latin American Marxism presented itself as an alternative theory of modernization and developmentalism (here its importance and its limit).

* * * * *

            From a series of recent interventions regarding the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution, I would like to mention Josep Fontana’s recent book entitled El siglo de la revolución. Una historia del mundo desde 1914 (2017). In this ambitious and comprehensive book, Fontana emphasizes the relevance of the Russian Revolution throughout the 20th century. His main point consists of presenting the Revolution as an unexpected event that dramatically changed international politics and led to the bipartisan organization of the world proper to the Cold War period. More importantly, I would argue, Fontana understands the Revolution not only as a historical process but also as a discursive configuration instrumental to the restrictive and securitarian policies of conservatives and liberals alike. Somehow, the emphasis of his book is not only put on the event itself, but also on the uses of the Revolution as a threat to any radical politics oriented to change the liberal and the current neoliberal social contract. The actuality of the revolution lays, therefore, not only in the particularities of the pre-revolutionary Russian society, but also in the political effects brought about by the events of 1917 for the rest of the world. For better and for worse.

The revolution, Fontana claims, was crucial in changing the economic and social characteristics of the Russian society, and, by extension, those of Europe and the rest of the world. Along with this, of course, the Revolution appears as a discursive trope, one that was also crucial in the alignment of the western powers and, after the Second World War, became decisive in defining the role of American imperialism. In a way, the counter-revolutionary strategy followed by the West worked not only at the military or political level, it did too at the ideological one, and in this second case, the counter-revolution performed a rather particular reading of history. Tactically put, along with a sort of demonization of the Bolsheviks, there was also a representation of the revolution as a punctual, uneventful event, very much in the line of some conservative readings of the French Revolution (Furet, for example). For others, however, the Revolution was a brutal event that opened the way to totalitarianism and, to borrow Carl Schmitt’s geopolitical analysis (The nomos of the Earth, 2005), it was thought of as the very embodiment of the Eschaton, the demonic force that should be contained by the Katechon, the controlling power represented by the NATO. In this regard, the increasing relevance of America in the aftermath of the Second World War was due to its self-appointed position as the power in charge of policing the world.

Fontana also highlights that, whether thanks to communist or to social-democratic parties, the political strategies followed by the left and the progressive organizations in the aftermath of the Russian Revolution, in Russia as well as in the rest of the world, were oriented to restrain the accumulation processes, the increment of the profit rate, and the general pauperization of the world population characteristic of the capitalist system of late nineteenth century. But all of this has changed with the fall of the Berlin Wall and of Communism as such, along with the ongoing crisis of the social democracy in Europe, the dominant position of neoliberalism in the world, and the technological sophistication of vigilance and security policies. Somehow, from the late twentieth century on, we have been experiencing a radical disarticulation of the social conquests enabled by the Russian Revolution. In other words, we are living today in similar conditions to those of the last part of the 19th century. And it is not clear up to what point a revolution or even a radical leftist politics could emerge from these years of neoliberal hegemony.

Interestingly enough, Thomas Piketty’s monumental volume, Capital in the Twenty First Century (2014), achieves similar conclusions. Far from a Marxist understanding of capitalism, Piketty manages to show how the social and economic conditions that led to the Russian Revolution in the first place, are very similar to the current socio-economic situation of larger sectors of the world population. He even proposes a reading of the Russian Revolution as a fundamental corrective to the accumulation processes in place at that time. Somehow, and in the long durée, the revolution was effective not only within the East-European block, but also in the so-called post- colonial world, as it was able to oppose the “brutalities” of the sustained capitalist system while triggering, at the same time, important reforms. In short, the Revolution, whether directly or indirectly, through state-planned policies or through indirect Keynesian policies that emerged as a reaction to the revolutionary threat, favored a new social contract that corrected the increasing gap between classes and the consequent pauperization of the working sectors, and led to the emergence of the so-called middle class. Nonetheless, the fully articulated hegemony of neoliberalism in the ongoing process of globalization has as one of its worse consequences the disappearance of this middle-class and the subsequent concentration of capital and wealth, the unfair distribution of property and income, the increasing pauperization and even de-proletarization of the world population, and the devastation of the natural resources beyond the threshold of classical capitalism.

Yet, Piketty believes that a better policy of taxation, a more sustained inversion in education, and the improvement of legislation oriented to regulate financial capitalism, would be enough to correct the increasing and devastating gap between social classes today. And this is not just political candor since, as you might remind, Tony Negri and Michael Hard ended their monumental volume Empire (2000) with a sort of equally lax set of recommendations: a global, effective, and non-abstract citizenship; a collective social salary for all, and the right to re-appropriation or re-distribution of wealth. How to implement such a minimal program? Not through the classical political party, which seems destined to fail and become a bureaucratic corporation, but through an unthought-of organization of the multitude (the new revolutionary subject in their analyses). In fact, in an intense exchange between Thomas Piketty and Alain Badiou in the French television, the French philosopher recognizing the immense empirical value of Piketty’s approach criticizes it for the lack of a serious engagement with the political aspects that might lead to the transformation of the current capitalist system (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6cNxXg8XEGk). Badiou, however, opposes to Piketty’s candor the recovery of communism in a very uncritical way, appealing to the loyalty of the militants and to the heroic figures of an historical moment that has been forgotten by the limiting rationality of today’s parliamentary capitalism. This is, indeed, one of the main contributions of current neo-communist positions, the recovery of the forgotten memory of the Revolution in order to expose the complex articulation of capital accumulation and its interested version of history. In this sense, the radical event of the revolution needs to be thought as an interruption of history, since history itself was snared by the evolving narrative of capitalism, a narrative that justifies, ex post factum, the devastation of our time.

But, we might say, if the problem of the revolution is a problem of history, it is also a problem of historical rationality: how to imagine a political strategy oriented to social transformation that does not become caught by the logic of this same rationality, one that is fed by the will to power? In other words, the appealing to loyalty with the event and to radical militancy does not seem enough, neither the recovery of the very idea of communism as an unproblematic historical reference. How to imagine then a politics that is not just the mere repetition of modern politics, and even if I do not want to open here the crucial debate around the hegemonic and state-oriented limitation of modern politics, what matters for me here is precisely the fact that in placing the revolution as a central event, contemporary thinkers, instead of thinking the savage condition of the revolution, produce a fetishist representation of it as a foundational moment; a founding moment that also produce the normative criteria with which one can read and organize different political practices.

This is certainly a difficult question, but what is clear is that, for Piketty and Fontana, among others, the Russian Revolution interrupted the ongoing process of capitalist accumulation, producing an exceptional time through the twentieth century that, with the fall of communism and the final global articulation of capitalism, is currently reaching its end. Thus, the end of the revolutionary exception coincides with the predominance of capital’s exceptionalism, or, alternatively, with the complete articulation of a flexible pattern of capitalist accumulation.

The imposition of this flexible process of accumulation, considered from Latin America, seems to be even worse. The violent implementation of neoliberal policies has yet unknown social consequences that contrasts radically with the optimism of those who identify themselves with the so-called pink-tide or progressive governments of the region. Whether we are talking about the military dictatorships of the Southern Cone, the Central American civil wars, or even about the current war on drugs in Mexico and before in Colombia, along the complementary militarization of those countries, what is most notorious in this process is the general devastation of the former Welfare State (associated with Latin American national-developmentalism), not to mention the forgetting of the revolution, now seen as an impossible utopia, something that should be relegated to the past. The fact that the new progressive cycle of Latin American governments appears today exhausted when confronted with the successful re-articulation of conservative administrations in the region (Brazil, Argentina, Chile, etc.), is anything but promising. And as Fontana would have put it, in the absence of an organized oppositional strategy, what we have are social movements unable to overcome the very sophisticated repressive mechanisms of today’s power. Neoliberalism nonetheless, as biopolitical management, does not repress in the classical way, it integrates and organizes the resistance to make of it a profitable business.

The implementation of neoliberalism in Latin America, however, required a series of operations that, in general, are called counter-insurgency. Along with the privatization of the public sector, the downsizing of the state, the liberation of the markets, the deregulation of the financial sectors, it was also necessary to deactivate the social movements and their narratives of emancipation, for which not only repressive policies were in place, there also was a sustained erasure of history that private new generations of the historical understanding of the political fights they were to confront. In other words, the implementation of neoliberalism was also the deletion of history and, paradigmatically, the obliteration of the relevance that revolutionary processes have had in shaping Latin American societies.

* * * * *

            However, let’s not give up on pessimism either, since what we are confronted with is the very question of the revolution as a problem of history. And here I want to be very precise, it is not just a historical or historiographical problem; on the contrary, what I meant by the revolution as the problem of history refers to the very conceptualization of historical temporality and the hegemonic narrative of progress that I propose to call capital’s philosophy of history. This particular philosophy, hegemonic through Latin American history, understands the region’s processes as an evolving movement toward modernity and toward a fully developed capitalist economy. Besides some dark moments in this process, Latin American society, from their discovery to globalization, would have been articulated according to a homogeneous temporality, one that fits perfectly in the western narrative of modernization and the current predominance of the American way of life. This is the narrative, I should say, related to the Christianization of the West Indias; to the Bourbon’s reforms and the centralized organization of the Empire in the 18th century; to the positivist ideology of progress proper to the 19th century; to the pacification wars during the inception of Latin America independent life; to the theories of modernization from the mid-twenty century on, and to the current justifications of the neoliberal globalization as the only valid way for Latin American societies.

I would like to claim that the Russian Revolution had a deep impact on this narrative, as it showed not only the possibility of the revolution in an undeveloped or peripheral society, but also as it marked the inception of Latin American Marxism. To be sure, the Mexican Revolution was an ongoing process from the 1910s, and the revolutionary imaginary of Latin American societies was very fresh, due to the recent independence revolutions of many countries in the region. However, the radical agenda of the Russian Revolution and the subsequent adoption of Marxism as its official ideology had multiple consequences in the political and intellectual history of Latin America. We might assert that Marxism in Latin America was, from the beginning, a problematic field in which the real problem was the production of a counter-narrative to the one we just called the philosophy of history of capital. This is the main problem confronted by José Carlos Mariátegui, the Peruvian writer who is unanimously recognized as one of the first and most prominent Marxist intellectuals influenced by the Russian Revolution. But Mariátegui was not alone; we should mention the political influence of Luis Emilio Recabarren, the Chilean founder of the Communist Party and an activist and journalist who was crucial to the organization of the Chilean working class at the beginning of the twentieth century. We should not forget the influence of the Afro-Caribbean psychiatrist Franz Fanon who was fundamental in opening the problem of race within the class-oriented politics of Latin American Marxism. The same goes for the Argentine historian José Aricó, director of Cuadernos de Pasado y Presente, a collection of Marxist books, 99 in total, that shaped Latin American debates in the second half of the twenty century. Also the Argentinian philosopher Oscar del Barco, author of one of the most appealing critiques of Leninism and the shortcomings of the Russian Revolution (Esbozo de una crítica a la teoría y práctica leninista, 1980). The Ecuadorian philosopher Bolívar Echeverría, author of a rather complex cultural theory of capitalist accumulation processes in colonial Mexico. Also, the Argentinian philosopher Enrique Dussel, who was not only influential to the philosophy of liberation of that time, but also attempted a controversial reading of Marx along with Emmanuel Levinas. And, of course, the current Bolivian vice-president, Álvaro García Linera, who has also produced a nuanced integration of Marxism and Indigenism in the line of José Carlos Mariátegui.

In this complex and heterogeneous set of Marxist thinkers in Latin America, Mariátegui is still placed at a central position not only because he was among the firsts to react to the Russian Revolution, and to understand the political and cultural innovation of that Revolution, but also because he was not a passive receptor of Marxism, but rather a critical and creative thinker who was able to adapt Marx’s analysis of European capitalism to the singularity of the Andean region. His famous Seven Interpretative Essays on Peruvian Reality (originally published in 1928) was already a monumental study of the problem of the indigenous people in Modern Peru that did not appeal to classical social Darwinism to explain it, but to a materialist analysis of the structure of property (and the role of latifundistas or landowners) in that country, in tandem with the brutal abrogation of indigenous communitarian economic practices. He understood, to put it in other words, that the class-centered analysis of western Marxism should be adapted in order to incorporate the ethnic, communitarian, and agricultural variables of the Andean region. For Mariátegui, the Ayllu (the Inca system of collective production and social organization) was not a remainder of the past that the proper implementation of capitalism will suppress; it was, on the contrary, a form of life that complicates the most rigid version of capital’s philosophy of history, including the Marxist version of history that became official after the Russian Revolution (associated with the famous Stalinist model of the five modes of production defining the historical development toward communism).

As José Aricó indicates in a classical study on Mariátegui (Mariátegui y los orígenes del marxismo latinoamericano, 1980), the Peruvian thinker was a contemporary of Antonio Gramsci and it would be simplistic to say that Gramsci was a dominant influence on him, since the kind of problems and formulations articulated by Mariátegui are rather particular to the Andean realities. However, the proximity between the Peruvian and the Italian thinkers lays in the fact that both have to confront the historical conditions of societies that do not fit within the “ideal” model of the north-European countries. In other words, both Mariátegui and Gramsci have to deal with the so-called Southern Question and, in doing that they not only adapted Marxism to the specificities of their respective realities, but also became important intellectuals and political organizers. Those are some of the main virtues Aricó considers distinctive of Mariátegui, and it would be tanks to them that the Russian Revolution became relevant to the social and political history of Latin America, a sort of big bang of Latin American Marxism.

* * * * *

            But Marxism is not the same when considered as a problematic field related to the question of history (as an interruption of the historical narrative that I have called capital’s philosophy of history) than when considered as a tradition. In an interesting recent volume entitled Decolonizing Dialectics (2017), George Ciccariello-Maher speculates about the gaining of the encounter between Marxism and postcolonial theories that, in Latin America, goes from Dussel’s first appropriation of Marx and the critiques of Eurocentrism, through Anibal Quijano’s notion of coloniality of power, to Walter Mignolo and the decolonial critique (not to mention the Caribbean Black Radicals and their theorization of racial capitalism, colonialism, and violence). For Ciccariello-Maher Latin American realities, its complex cultural setting and its ethnic heterogeneity, demands an integral analysis that goes well beyond classical Marxism. Somehow in line with the Sub-Asiatic subalternist critiques of western Marxism and its inability to understand the singularity of the political and historical processes of India, he appeals to the work of Mariátegui, Fanon, and Dussel, in that particular order, as an ongoing problematization of the limitations of conventional, official, Eurocentric Marxism. If Mariátegui was the first to supplement the Marxian class analysis with the ethnic component and with the question regarding the indigenous communitarian form of life (the Ayllu); Fanon was central in the problematization of race and in the articulation of the Radical Black tradition with the Marxist one. Dussel, in this line of thinking, would have gone even further when changed the focus of analysis from class structures, ethnic identities, and the racial component of capitalist accumulation, to the people (the pauper el pobre) as the central component in the formation of the nation. Indeed, Dussel thinks of the people as a “national people” already articulated by a conflictive dynamics between colonial powers and colonized nations. Thanks to this line of argumentation, Marxism becomes one component, important but not unique, in the configuration of the liberationist paradigm. Decolonizing dialectics therefore implies not just a new call for provincializing Europe, but also the constitution of an alternative radical tradition that would feed a new radical politics today. As a process of decolonization, what matters for Ciccariello-Maher is the understanding of the historical specificities that permit, in the very first place, the rather particular constitution of this liberationist paradigm without subsuming it to the classical (colonizing) model in which, what we have instead is the implementation of a lineal and homogeneous tradition of thought produced in Europe. However, what still remains as a problem in this decolonization of dialectics is the very dialectics that still subordinates the savage and heterogeneous condition of social practices to an ongoing process of liberation that appears now as a nation formation process, opposed to imperialism.

In fact, I would claim, the main problem with this argumentation lays in the form in which it still articulates the past as an ongoing, evolving, and homogeneous tradition of resistance, in which the main agency is given or granted to the national-popular subject who is always fighting for its liberation. We might say that this is the exact inversion of what we just called capital’s philosophy of history, since in this inverted version what we have is the same temporal structuration of the tradition as a teleologically oriented history, in this case not toward full modernization and development, but toward a final liberation. Liberationism is the inversion of capital’s philosophy of history and as such it remains a philosophy of history. What this teleological structuration of time represses is the radical heterogeneity of social formations and historical times, a sort of savage temporality that complicates the historicist accounts of the past.

Within the Latin American Marxist “constellation”, Mariátegui was, without a doubt, one of the firsts in understanding how the powerful hermeneutical apparatus of Marxism could become its opposite, a fossilized philosophy of history. If Marxism’s original contribution was the dismantling of the ideological version of history, the “bourgeois” historicism proper to the nineteen century, from the point of view of the historicity of the social relations of production, then the very configuration of Marxism as a sort of liberationist tradition always run the risk of producing a counterproductive effect: a disciplinary version self-appointed to evaluate and police any political manifestation.

This is the reason we affirmed that Marxism was from its inception in Latin America a problematic field related to the question of history. Already with Mariátegui this was the main problem: how to account for the specific historical configuration of the Andean region within a Marxist conceptual frame? After almost a century, we might say that Mariátegui was clever enough to understand Marxism as an open approach to history and not as a hermeneutical model to which reality has to be adjusted.  By the time he was writing and thinking, he did not have access to a series of important publications, by Marx and other intellectuals, related to the debates about the modes of production, the pre-capitalist social formations, the problem of the agrarian community (Marx correspondence with Vera Zasulich, for example), and the critiques to the working class-centered political strategy of classical Marxism. The agrarian and ethnological hypotheses developed by Kevin Anderson (Marx at the Margins, 2016) and Lucca Basso (Marx and the Common, 2017), are also relevant, we might say, to understand the originality of the works of Roger Bartra, Álvaro García Linera, and Jean Tible, among many others Latin American thinkers. But what seems to be a common element to all these works is the way in which history remains as an open problem, a problem that is at odds with the configuration of “traditions” and resists the Hegelian ruse of subsuming the “savage heterogeneity” of Latin American societies to the narrative of national liberation and decolonization. In other words, if the Marxist critique of accumulation was a deactivation of the general categories informing the classical political economy, the current configuration of decolonial theory not only displaces the emphasis on accumulation processes to forms of lives and cultural differences, but suture the heterogeneity of social processes to the paradigmatic configuration of colonial and anti-colonial fights. In doing so, decolonial critique repeats in the cultural field the same generalizations of classical political economy.

Let me finish then by returning to Jean Tible’s recent and challenging book, Marx Selvagem (2013), in which the very configuration of the Andean Ayllu and the Inca model of socialization are put in question as rough generalizations, even in Mariátegui, of the indigenous people’s heterogeneous conditions of life in the region. For Tible, who reads the Marxist theories of the state and social formations along with Pierre Clastres’ “anarchist” anthropology, what remains as a problematic assumption in Mariátegui and, therefore, in the Latin American Marxist “tradition”, is its inability to differentiate the savage and heterogeneous condition of the indigenous peoples from the monumental representations of indigenous identities. His critique complicates not only the notions of social classes, races and nations, proper to this tradition, but also, the homogeneous representation of the indigenous, the so-called Inca reference, so important to Mariátegui himself, from the perspective of nomadic Amazonian tribes without state. In this sense, Marx Selvagem proposes a Marx opened to the radical historicity and singularity of social processes, and not a Marx placed at the center of a tradition that, beyond its good intentions, remains the inversion of capital’s philosophy of history.

In any case, more important than this new attempt to rescue Marx from his interpreters, what seems to be crucial, once again, is the problem of historicity and its relation to time, to a time other than the spacialized time of capital, and we might add, only in that way, the Russian Revolution that was a savage anomaly in its time, remains as a savage encounter with history. Because “savage” is precisely the nature of historical temporalities. This is what is at stake in that time and in ours, I would suggest.

Ypsilanti, 2017

Updated Bibliography on Infrapolitics. Still Incomplete, Still a Draft. By Alberto Moreiras.

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Infrapolítics. Bibliography in Progress. Updated Draft (Errors and Incomplete Information To Be Corrected.) March 2017.

Alvarez Solís, Angel Octavio.

— ed. “Infrapolítica y ética menor.” México: Universidad Iberoamericana [2017].

—. “Filosofía política. Arqueología de un saber indisciplinado.” México: Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana [2018].

—. “On a Newly Arisen Infrapolitic Tone in Theory.” In Transmodernity. Journal of Peripheral Cultural Production of the Luso-Hispanic World 1.2 (2015): XX

—. “Anarcorepublicanismo. Prolegómenos para una política sin dominación.” In Mendoza, Carlos. “Indignación, resistencias y universidad.” México: Gedisa, 2018.

—. . “Ética de lo impersonal y gestión de la vida en Roberto Esposito.” Metafísica y Persona 12 (2014): XX

—. . “Infrapolítica, impolítica y nuevo realismo.” Papel máquina 10 (2016): XX.

—. . “En torno a la noción de infrapolítica. Una conversación con Alberto Moreiras.” Papel máquina 10 (2016): XX.

—. “Mito y teología política en tiempos post-seculares.” Derecho y humanidades (2017): XX.

—. . “Barroco, casticismo, emancipación.” Pacheco, Víctor Hugo ed. Confluencias barrocas en América Latina y el Caribe Querétaro: Universidad Autónoma de Querétaro, 2017. XX.

—. “La desestatalización del conocimiento. La universidad en tiempos post-ilustrados” en Thayer Willy ed. La universidad posible. Santiago de Chile: UMCE, 2017. XX.

—-. “La miseria de la autenticidad. Cuatro tesis (contra)decoloniales.” Diecisiete, teoría crítica, psicoanálisis, acontecimiento XX (2017): XX.

—. “Heimatlosen. El cosmopolitismo marrano de Jacques Derrida.” Derrida y lo ético-político. Santiago: UIA-La Cebra [forthcoming].

—. “Mexico Troporized. Radical Democracy and Infrapoltical Spaces.” “Reimagining Public Space in Mexico,” XX [2018]: XX

—. “Más allá del principio de subjetividad. Reseña de Moreiras, Alberto. Marranismo e inscripción (Madrid: Escolar y Mayo, 2016).   Escrituras americanas 2.1 [2017]: XX.

 

Alvarez Yagüez, Jorge. “Límites y potencia de dos categorías políticas: infrapolítica e impolítica.” Política Común 6 (2014) . XX.
—“Hegemonía, cultura y política.” En Poshegemonía. El final de un paradigma de la filosofía política en América Latina. Rodrigo Castro Orellana ed. Madrid, Biblioteca Nueva, 2015. 67-92
—“Crisis epocal. La política en el límite.” Debats 3 (2015): 9-28
–“De la crítica de dos conceptos políticos: sujeto y acción.” Política Común 10 (2016). XX.
–“Infrapolítica.” “Conceptos fundamentales del latinoamericanismo.” Forthcoming [2018].

 

Baker, Peter.  “(Post)Hegemony: Reflections on the Politics of the Present.” Política Común. 9. [Online]. <http://quod.lib.umich.edu/p/pc/> 2017.

 

— “Hacia una crítica del terror: Inquisición y marranismo. Terror social y pensamiento.” ed. José Luis Villacañas. Madrid: Biblioteca Nueva [2017]

 

Cerrato, Maddalena. “Consensus, Sensus Communis, Community.” Politica Común 10 (2016): XX.

 

—“Alberto Moreiras: desde la aporía auto/hetero-gráfica hacia posthegemonía e infrapolítica.” Papel Máquina XX.

 

—-“Infrapolitics and Shibumi. Infrapolitical Practice between and beyond Metaphisical Closure and End of History.” Transmodernity 5.1 (2015): 79-103.

 

Mendoza de Jesús, Ronald. “De otro modo que político/Otherwise than Political.” Dossier. Co-edited with Mauro Senatore. Pléyade 19 (2017). In Preparation.
—. “Historicity as Metaphoricity in Early Derrida: From the History of Being to Another Historio-graphy.” Derrida 1967. Ed. David Johnson. Special issue of New Centennial Review [2017]. Under Review.

 

—. “Introducción: De otro modo que político.” “De otro modo que político/Otherwise than Political.” Pléyade 19.1 [2017]. In Preparation.

 

—. “Conceptos infrapolíticos II: De la ‘ipseidad expuesta’” De otro modo que político/Otherwise than Political. Pléyade 19.1 [2017]. In Preparation.
—. “Infrapolitical Concepts I: On the Concept of “Fundamental Concept.” Política Común 10 (2016)” XX.
—. “Sovereignty: An Infrapolitical Question?” Infrapolitics. Ed. Ángel Octavio Álvarez Solís and Jaime Rodríguez Matos. Special Issue of Transmodernity 4.2 (2015): XX.    http://escholarship.org/uc/item/6xh7h24s
—. “Being, Sovereignty, Unconditionality: Heidegger’s Walten in Derrida’s La bête et le souverain II.” Freud After Derrida (Part 1). Dawne McCance ed. Special Issue of Mosaic: A Journal of the Interdisciplinary Study of Literature 44.3 (2011): 99-113.
—. “Un’altra vita: incalcolabilità, iper-sovranità e incondizionato.” Trans. Arianna Marchente. L’a-venire di Derrida. Ed. Gianfranco Dalmasso, Carmine Di Martino, and Catarina Resta. Milano: Mimesis, 2014. 193-209.

 

—. “Imposible, imposible: La posibilidad de lo imposible y la deconstrucción de la soberanía en el pensamiento de la incondicionalidad de Jacques Derrida.” Jacques Derrida: Fenomenología, firma, traducción. Ed. Zeto Bórquez. Santiago: Pólvora. 223-262. XX.
—. Review of Rodríguez-Matos, Jaime. Writing of the Formless: José Lezama Lima and the End of Time. New York: Fordham University Press, 2016. Revista Iberoamericana. In Preparation.

 

Moreiras, Alberto. Marranismo e inscripción, o el abandono de la conciencia desdichada. Madrid: Escolar y Mayo, 2016.

 

—. Línea de sombra. El no sujeto de lo político. Santiago de Chile: Palinodia, 2006. [English publication under contract with Duke University Press. Revised and Expanded Edition to be published in 2017-18.]

 

—. “Approssimazioni all’infrapolitica.” Maddalena Cerrato transl. Naples: Paparo [2017]

 

—“Piel de lobo. Ensayos de posthegemonía e infrapolítica.” Madrid: Biblioteca Nueva [2017]

 

—. “Cujusdam nigri & scabiosi Brasiliani: Rancière and Derrida.” In George Edmonon and Klaus Mladek eds. Sovereignty in Ruins. A Politics of Crisis. Durham: Duke UP, 2017. 125-43.

 

—. “The Parergon for Parergonal Critique. On David R. Castillo and William Egginton’s Medialogies. Reading Reality in the Age of Inflationary Media. Brad Nelson ed. Hispanic Issues Online [2017].

 

—.   “Cercanía contra comunidad: la errancia y el ojo de más.” In Pléyade [Santiago de Chile, 2017].

 

—. “Hacia una república marrana. Conversación entre Alberto Moreiras y José Luis Villacañas sobre Teología política imperial y comunidad de salvación cristiana, de José Luis Villacañas.” To be published in a volume of review-essays on said book. Madrid [2017]

 

—. “Idolatría e infrapolítica. Comentario a Teología política imperial y comunidad de salvación cristiana, de José Luis Villacañas.”   To be published in a volume of review-essays on the book in the title. Madrid [2017]

 

—. “Against the Conspiracy. Revisiting Life’s Vertigo. On Roberto Esposito’s Terza persona and Da fuori. Una filosofia per l’Europa.” In Antonio Calcagno and Inna Viriasova eds. The Thought of Roberto Esposito. State University of New York Press [2017]

 

—. “The Ontic Determination of Politics Beyond Empiricism in Early Derrida.” Erin Graff Zivin ed. The Marrano Specter. Derrida and Hispanism. Fordham UP [2017].

 

—. “A Negation of the Anarchy Principle.” Política común [2017].

 

—. “Memory Heroics. Ethos Daimon.” Special Issue on Allegory edited by Jacques Lezra and Tara Mendiola. Yearbook of Comparative Literature [2017]

 

—. “Tres tesis sobre populismo y política. Hacia un populismo marrano.” Alfonso Galindo ed. Title to be decided. Madrid [2017]

 

—. “Distancia infrapolítica. Nota sobre el concepto de distancia en Felipe Martínez Marzoa.” En Arturo Leyte ed., La historia y la nada. En torno a Felipe Martínez Marzoa. Madrid: La oficina de arte y ediciones [2017].

 

—. “La diéresis del pensamiento como tonalidad patética: Nota sobre pensamiento/crítica en Willy Thayer, apoyada en Jacques Derrida y en Martin Heidegger y en Juan Benet.” Papel màquina [2017]

 

   —. “La religión marrana y el secreto literario.” Angel Octavio Alvarez Solís ed. (Title to Be Decided). Mexico: Iberoamericana [2016]

 

   —. “Derrida infrapolítico.” Pablo Lazo Briones ed. Etica y política. Mexico: Universidad Iberoamericana [2016].

  

—. “The Turn of Deconstruction.” Volume edited by Juan Poblete on LASA Culture and Power Panels, May 2014. Routledge [2017]

 

—. “Sobre populismo y política. Hacia un populismo marrano.” Política común 10 (2016): 1-15.

 

—. “Hispanism and the Border: On Infrapolitical Literature.” In Wilfried Raussert ed., The Routledge Companion to Inter-American Studies. London: Routledge, 2017. 197-206.

 

—. “La universidad es solo intemperie. Entrevista de Ivan Pinto a Alberto Moreiras.” El desconcierto (Santiago de Chile), May 4, 2016. 1-8. (Interview [I])

 

—. Conversación en torno a Infrapolítica.” Interview. Questions from Alejandra Castillo, Jorge Alvarez Yagüez, Maddalena Cerrato, Sam Steinberg, Angel Antonio Alvarez Solís. Papel máquina (2016). (I)

 

—. “Infrapolítica—el proyecto.” Papel máquina 10 (2016): 55-66. (Refereed article [RA)

 

—. “Infrapolitical Action: The Truth of Democracy at the End of General Equivalence.” Davide Tarizzo ed. Política común 9 (2016). DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3998/pc.12322227.0009.004 (RA)

 

—. “Posthegemonía, o más allá del principio del placer.” In Rodrigo Castro Orellana ed., Poshegemonía. El final de un paradigma de la filosofía política en América Latina. Madrid: Biblioteca Nueva, 2015. 125-46. (Book Chapter [BC])

 

—. “A Conversation with Alberto Moreiras Regarding the Notion of Infrapolitics.” (Alejandra Castillo, Jorge Alvarez Yágüez, Maddalena Cerrato, Sam Steinberg, Angel Antonio Alvarez Solís). Transmodernity 5.1 (2015): 142-58. (I)

 

—. “Infrapolítica y política de la infrapolítica.” Debats 128 (2015): 53-73. (RA)

 

—. “Introducción: Infrapolítica y posthegemonía. (Anhkibasie).” Debats 128 (2015): 6-8. (RA)

 

—. “Infrapolitics: the Project and Its Politics. Allegory and Denarrativization. A Note on Posthegemony.” Transmodernity 5.1 (2015): 9-35. (RA)

 

—. “Pasión de hospitalidad, pasión hospitalaria: relación encubierta. Comentario a “Después del euro. La Europa de la hospitalidad.” Res publica [2014] (RA)

 

—. “Das Schwindelgefuehl des Lebens. Roberto Esposito Terza persona.” Vittoria Borsó ed. Wissen und Leben. Wissen für das Leben. Herausforderungen einer affirmativen Biopolitik. Bielefeld: transcript, 2014. 115-39. (BC)

 

—. “Mi vida en Z. Ficción teórica. (De un profesor español en una universidad de Estados Unidos.)” http://www.fronterad.com/?q=mi-vida-en-z-ficcion-teorica-profesor-espanol-en-universidad-estados-unidos (Non-Refereed Article [NRA)

 

—. “Horacio Castellanos Moya and the Question of Cynicism.” Nonsite [2014]: 1-22. (Electronic publication.) (RA)

 

—. “Posthegemonía, o más allá del principio del placer.” Alter/nativas 1 (2013): 1-22.

 

—. “Keynes y el Katechon.” Anales de historia de la filosofia [Madrid] 30.1 (2013): 157-68.

 

—. “A Beggaring Description: The Republican Secret in Yo el Supremo, Together With Some Considerations on Symbolic Production and Radical Evil.” Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies 22.1 (2013): 71-87.

 

—. “The Fatality of (My) Subalternism: A Response to John Beverley.” New Centennial Review 12.2 (2012): 217-46.

 

—. “¿Puedo madrugarme a un narco? Posiciones críticas en LASA.” http://www.fronterad.com/?q=node/5697; Cuadernos de literatura 17.33 (junio 2013): 76-89.

 

—. “Common Political Democracy: The Marrano Register.” In Henry Sussman ed., Impasses of the Post-Global. Theory in the Era of Climate Change. Vol. 2. University of Michigan Libraries. http://www.openhumanitiespress.org, 2012. 175-193.

 

—. “Cujusdam negri & scabiosi Brasiliani. Las malas visitas. Ranciere y Derrida.” Cadernos de Estudos Culturais (Sao Paulo) 3.5 (2011): 9-25; Res publica 26.14 (2011): 29-46.

 

 

Muñoz, Gerardo. “Infrareligión y nihilismo en Lezama Lima.” 80grados, March 24 2017. Review of Jaime Rodriguez Matos’ Writing of the Formless: José Lezama Lima and the End of Time (Fordham U Press 2016).

—. “Imagination and the Life of Thought: an interview with Emanuele Coccia”. Minesotta review 88 [2017]: XX.

—. “Ejercicio autográfico y vida marrana”, Letras Libres, May Issue, 2017. Review of Alberto Moreiras’ Marranismo e Inscripción (Madrid: Escolar y Mayo, 2016).

 

—. “Infrapolitica en tiempos posnacionales”. Review of Pablo Hupert’s El estado posnacional. Consideraciones, Agosto 2014. XX.

—. “Soberanía, acumulación, infrapolitica: intercambio con Sergio Villalobos-Ruminott”. Lobo Suelto April 2015.  XX.

—. “Cinco hipótesis sobre Reiner Schürmann y el fin de la política principial”. Ficción de la razón, Marzo 2016.  XXX.

—. “Writing in the Interregnum”. berfrois, June, 2016.  XX

—. “Beyond Identity and the State. Introduction to dossier The End of the Latin American Progressive Cycle”. Alternautas 3.1 (2016): XX.

___. “Epoca posuniversitaria e institución”. “La Universidad Posible.” Willy Thayer and Raul Rodriguez eds. [forthcoming]
—. Infrapolitics, state, writing in Yo el Supremo”. Dissidences 13 (2017)” [forthcoming]

___. “Hegemon: Communal Corm and Total Mobilization in Latin America”. Demarcaciones [2017]

—. “Poshegemonía, principios, y estado de derecho”. Pensamiento al margen [2017].

—. “Interregnum and worldliness”. Review of Sergio Villalobos-Ruminott‘s Heterografías de la violencia (La Cebra, 2016). Política Común 11 [2017]

 

 

Rodríguez Matos, Jaime. Writing of the Formless: José Lezama Lima and the End of Time. New York: Fordham University Press, 2017.
—. “De lo que agujerea lo Real: Lacan, crítico de la (pos)hegemonía.” Debats 128.3 (2015): 29-40.
—. “Introduction. After the Ruin of Thinking: From Locationalism to Infrapolitics.” TRANSMODERNITY: Journal of Peripheral Cultural Production of the Luso-Hispanic World 5.1 (2015): 1-8.
—. “Nihilism and the Deconstruction of Time: Notes toward Infrapolitics.” TRANSMODERNITY: Journal of Peripheral Cultural Production of the Luso-Hispanic World 5.1 (2015): 36-51.
—. “After the Ruin of Thinking: From Locationalism to Infrapolitics.” Transmodernity: Journal of Peripheral Cultural Production of the Luso-Hispanic World 5.1 (2015): 1-8.
—. “Del no-tiempo de la incertidumbre en Juan Luis Martínez.” Martínez Total. Eds. Biggs, Braulio Fernández and Marcelo Rioseco. Santiago: Editorial Universitaria, 2016. 191-207.
—-. “Poshegemonía y la era Revolución: la deformación Caribe.” Cuadernos Latinoamericanos. (forthcoming).
—. “Notas sobre nihilismo: Lalo y el pensamiento en las consecuencias de Occidente.” Asedios a las textualidades de Eduardo Lalo. Ed. Sotomayor, Aurea María. Córdoba: Corregidor, forthcoming. Print.

 

Villalobos, Sergio. “La desarticulación (Soberanías en suspenso 2).” [2018]
—. Heterografías de la violencia. Historia Nihilismo Destrucción. Buenos Aires, La Cebra, 2016.

—. “Palabra quebrada. Glosas en torno al fragmento escatológico-político de Guadalupe Santa Cruz.” Revista Iberoamericana [2017]
—. “Transferencia y articulación: la política de la retórica como economía del deseo.” Pléyade 16 (2015): 69-92.
—. “El poema de la Universidad: nihilismo e infrapolítica.” TRANSMODERNITY: Journal of Peripheral Cultural Production of the Luso-Hispanic World, 5.1, 2015: XX.
—. “¿En qué se reconoce el pensamiento” Infrapolítica y posthegemonía en la época de la realización de la metafísica.” Debats 128 (2015): 41-52.
—. “Oscar del Barco- la crítica del marxismo como técnica liberacionista.” Papel Máquina 9 (2015): 133-153.
—. “Para una política sin excepciones: el legado de Derrida.” Caja Muda 7 (2014): XX.
— “La deconstrucción, esa bestia soberana.” En “Derridasur.” Pasto Colombia. [2017]

 

—. “Equivalencia neoliberal e interrupción nómica: El conflicto de las facultades como contrato social.” La universidad posible. Santiago de Chile: Universidad Metropolitana de Ciencias de la Educación [2017].
—. “Dispositivo: historia e inmanencia.” Biopolítica y gubernamentalidad. Grupo de estudios de la guberanamentalidad, Universidad de Chile [2017]
—. “Democracy and Development in the Latin American Pink Tide.” Alternautas 3 (2016): XX.
—. “La anarquía como fin de la metafísica. Notas sobre Reiner Schürmann.” Machina et Subversio Machinae: 2016. XX.

 

—. “Soberanía, imaginación y potencia del pensamiento. Un intercambio entre Rodrigo Karmy, Carlos Casanova y Gonzalo Díaz Letelier y Sergio Villalobos-Ruminott.” Demarcaciones (2015): XX.
—. “Soberanía, acumulación, infrapolítica. Una entrevista a Sergio Villalobos-Ruminott.” Por Gerardo Muñoz y Pablo Domínguez Galbraith. Lobo suelto (14 de abril: 2015): XX.
—. “La marea rosada latinoamericana: entre democracia y desarrollismo. Panoramas, 2014. XX

 

Williams, Gareth. “Paramilitarism, Narco-Accumulation and State-Form in Contemporary Mexico”. Work in progress.

—. “Marrano Spirit? . . . and Hispanism, or, Responsibility in 2666”. The Marrano Spirit: Derrida and Hispanism. Ed. Erin Graff Zivin. Forthcoming Fordham UP, 2017.

—. “The Subalternist Turn”. 25 Years of Latin American Studies in Culture, Power and Politics. Ed. Juan Poblete. Under consideration at Presses. Latin American Studies Track in Culture, Power and Politics. (Forthcoming 2017).

—. “The Subalternist Turn in Latin American Postcolonial Studies, or, Thinking in the Wake of What Went Down Yesterday”. Política común (10) (2016).https://quod.lib.umich.edu/p/pc/

—. “Social Disjointedness and State-Form in Álvaro García Linera”. Culture, Theory and Critique. XX (2015): 1-16

—. “Decontainment, The Collapse of the Katechon and the End of Hegemony”. The Anomie of the Earth: Philosophy, Politics, and Autonomy in Europe and the Americas. Eds. Federico Luisetti, John Pickles and Wilson Kaiser. Afterword by Sandro Mezzadra. Durham: Duke University Press, 2015: 159-173.

—. “Los límites de la hegemonía: Algunas reflexiones sobre El momento Gramsciano de Peter Thomas y Hegemonía y estrategia socialista de Ernesto Laclau y Chantal Mouffe”. Poshegemonía: El final de un paradigma de la filosofía política en América Latina. Ed. Rodrigo Castro Orellana. Madrid, Editorial Biblioteca Nueva, 2015: 49-66.

—. “Bajo la ley se esconde algo que no es bonito: Apuntes para la infra-universidad”. Santiago de Chile: Universidad Metropolitana de Ciencias de la Educación. Forthcoming 2017

—. Roberto Esposito. The Origin of the Political: Hannah Arendt or Simone Weil? Translated by Vincenzo Binetti & Gareth Williams. New York, Fordham University Press. 2017.

 

March 30, 2017

Posdata a la discusión sobre Javier Cercas. Por Alberto Moreiras.

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De nuevo sin ánimo de rasparle las plumas a nadie, y ya no en referencia a la reseña de Sebastiaan comentada abajo, sino en referencia más bien a diversos comentarios en redes sociales, y a lo que se trasluce en ellos de una especie de funesto espíritu de época que empieza a diseñar un nuevo conformismo tan banal como cualquier otro, me parece hiperviolento, aunque también ridículo, considerar que a Javier Cercas convenga atacarle porque escribe en El País o porque ha jurado algún tipo de fidelidad a un ideario de PRISA.   Hasta ahí podíamos llegar: a condenar a una persona porque acepta seguir colaborando en un periódico de gran difusión y prestigio histórico donde lleva ya colaborando veinte años o por ahí, y a permitir que tal hecho, dado nuestro desagrado o rechazo por la línea editorial de tal periódico en el momento presente, afecte nuestro juicio sobre su capacidad literaria o su calidad como persona o lo determine directamente. La cosa clama particularmente al cielo porque resucita viejos vicios de la izquierda de siempre, que uno, quizá ilusamente, creía que habían quedado ya en la basura de la historia. Pero no, siempre hay recalcitrantes recicladores de basura ideológica. Así que Javier Cercas colabora frecuentemente en El País—y en lugar de pensar que eso significa que aun en El País se mantiene cierta pluralidad, aunque se mantenga solo nominalmente y dada la fama de alguien que le da prestigio a El País en lugar de recibirlo de él, se piensa que eso hace al colaborador no solo cómplice de lo peor sino monigote digno de emplumamiento y diana de todos los desprecios.

La gente tiene mala memoria, y de eso no hay que sorprenderse (yo también la tengo, cada vez peor: antes era buena). Pero bastaría releer un artículo publicado hace algunos años ni más ni menos que por Gregorio Marañón y Beltrán de Lys, miembro del consejo de administración de PRISA, y desde luego miembro influyente en la élite política y social española, para ver cómo es falso que el pensamiento político de Javier Cercas se atenga y se haya atenido siempre a la línea editorial del periódico. El artículo puede verse aquí: http://elpais.com/diario/2010/06/28/opinion/1277676011_850215.html. De todas formas, insisto en que no es una línea de indagación que a mí me convenza—no conviene descalificar a nadie por sus ideas políticas excepto en el mero terreno de las ideas políticas. Si usted es un fiero anarquista que hace música, más vale que cuando haga música le respeten la música al margen de su anarquismo, porque me imagino que es muy pobre alegría, y patética, que se la celebren por el anarquismo mismo.   Excepto que ya sabemos que hay muchos tan pobres de ideas que solo las tienen políticas, cuando son ideas, que ya es algo, en lugar de meras opiniones.

No es verdad, pura y simplemente, que Cercas sea un vendido a la línea editorial de El País, ni tampoco un vendido a la línea espiritual de ese otro centro de conspiradores llamado El Régimen del 78.   Esas son tonterías buenas quizá para elevar los niveles de audiencia de algún programa de televisión de cadena subalterna, pero no deberíamos tomarlas en serio.   Por otro lado todos sus lectores saben que Cercas tiene ideas políticas claramente de izquierdas, aunque no coincidan aquí o allá con la escrupulosa piedad del momento, y es injusto y vergonzoso decir que se acerca a la ultraderecha, que es contrarrevolucionario, o que es una especie de criptofascista al que le hubiera gustado poder afiliarse a la Falange de la primera época. Esto no es más que una cadena de injurias sin fundamento alguno—excepto en el poco vistoso odio de los que las enuncian.

Podemos estar de acuerdo o en desacuerdo con cualquier cosa que diga Cercas o cualquier otro, pero esa no es una buena razón para ninguna descalificación ni ataque ad hominem. Lo que importa de Cercas, lo que lo hace una persona importante para muchos, y también para mí, es su literatura.  Curioso que sean algunos de los mismos que hace pocos años abominaban de la calificación de cualquier cosa artística como buena o mala–elitismo burgués, decían, canonización del gusto de la élite, decían–los que ahora apelen a tales calificativos para insistir en que Cercas, uno de los escritores que más claramente han marcado la literatura española reciente, sea “malo.”

Pero esa es todavía una discusión perfectamente legítima al menos: si su literatura es buena o mala.  Yo pienso que es buena la literatura que me da ganas de escribir sobre ella.  La de Cercas siempre lo hace, desde el primero al último de sus libros.

 

 

Is There an Infrapolitical Dignity Worthy of the Name? By Gareth Williams.

Rome dignitas

Geoffrey Bennington, Scatter 1: The Politics of Politics in Foucault, Heidegger and Derrida. New York: Fordham University Press, 2016.

My presentation is framed as a question, but is simply an attempt to think alongside scatter, with no definitive response to the question itself. I would like to begin by expressing my gratitude to Alberto Moreiras for this gathering, and my admiration to Geoffrey Bennington for Scatter 1, which, via the “politics of politics” in Foucault, Heidegger and Derrida, posits a thinking not of the political per se, but of a certain autoimmune distance from the political, which is, of course, a distance from politics understood as the dialectical orientation and administration of force. Bennington proposes a dismantling of the hermeneutics of the political, and, as such, a deconstruction of the originary polemos/polis relation. He does this in such a way as to unveil—that is, to loosen and scatter—just some of the originary concealments that lie at the heart of the political. Bennington presents us with what one might call, perhaps a little inappropriately, a form of anticipatory resoluteness that is extended, however, not in the name of power over Dasein’s existence, as in Heidegger’s not so surreptitious decision, but in the name of autoimmunity. This movement uncovers a “modest falling short of the transcendental”; the potentiality of a turn toward a thinking of autoimmunity that traces the contours of a thinking without mastery; an opening to a certain environmentality within thinking that remains at a significant remove from the dialectic of reason and the certainties of political consciousness that animate every teleology.

We could understand Scatter1, therefore, as a protocol of reading that highlights, and animates, a certain trembling at the heart of the political; a trembling that is covered over, concealed, and systematically rendered oblivious in the name of teleology. Bennington’s is a protocol that is extended with a view to dispersing all fugitive Self-Other concealments. This is obviously not the work of a card carrying Heideggerian, however. Quite the contrary, the author proposes the detours of scatter in such a way as to open up a task for thinking that does not regurgitate Heidegger’s troublesome metaphorics of proximity and gathering; a metaphorics that Derrida in May ‘68 (“The Ends of Man”), but also in his lectures from a few years before On the Question of Being and History, had already outlined as a thinking of “simple and immediate presence, a metaphorics associating the proximity of Being with the values of neighboring, shelter, house, service, guard, voice and listening” (“Ends, 130). As Derrida highlights in reference to Heideggerian metaphorics, this is “not an insignificant rhetoric” (130).

With this in mind, Scatter 1 takes aim at the underlying problems of the “moment of vision” (Augenblikt), which Heidegger developed with a view to anchoring and holding together the factical and the transcendental, the existential and the existentiell; the gathering together of all thrownness, dispersal and ek-sistence. In contrast to Heidegger’s moment of vision, Bennington invites us to approach the politics of politics in the absence of such a problematic metaphorics, in the process raising the question of metaphoricity in general, and along with it the very conceivability of plurality, coexistence and simultaneity.

Echoing Derrida’s “differance”, Scatter 1 offers its readers the tomb of the proper, the death of the tyranny contained in Heidegger’s metaphysics of gathering and proximity (Derrdia, 1972, 4). As such, the politics of politics unveils an economy of death that lies at the heart of the metaphorics of the familial and the proper. Rather than positing presence, scatter loosens, breaches and breaks open in a movement toward the politics of politics; politics in its autoimmune self-difference, or alter. The politics of politics marks not the sign politics, but the sign of the sign, and therefore the opening to the unveiling trace of the erasure of the trace itself. As a result, Scatter is the movement of an autoimmune destitution of political presence that moves in the name of an economy without reserve, always preceding and differentiating itself from the political.

In these movements the politics of politics governs nothing. If it is anything, scatter is the name for that which “lingers in the expanse of unconcealment” (Derrida,”Ousia and gramme), and, as such, in the expanse of the trace of the erasure of the trace. Scatter is a thought of lingering and of falling short. Making the unveiling of oblivion the issue not of politics, but of the politics of politics, scatter suspends teleology from the start, in the name of always, humbly, and necessarily, falling short of gathering. As such, it remains at all times without a kingdom and without an epoch; as Derrida observes in reference to differance, which remains at all times the underlying movement of scatter, it is an “affirmation foreign to all dialectics” (27). As a result, there is no philosophy of bios and zoe available to us here; there is no affirmative biopolitics in scatter. Rather, it is thinking in the name of blind tactics, empirical wandering (Derrida, 7), and the circumventing of the willful politics of the decision, of any specific political consciousness, and of the operation or action of a subject on an object. In scatter sovereignty is nothing and the only democracy worthy of the name would be an-archic.

This is, of course, a fundamental project for our times, understanding our times as our atrocious, forced familiarity with a seismic shift in the coordination of teleology and eschatology that we have come to call globalization. Half a century ago, in “The Ends of Man”, Derrida first approached the question of dignity and democracy, highlighting the following limit: “What is difficult to think today is an end of man which would not be organized by a dialectics of truth and negativity, an end of man which would not be a teleology in the first person plural” (121). Fifty years later our phrasing would have to be slightly different, since that limit evoked by Derrida has been displaced by the globalizaton of techne and the determination of humanity as standing reserve. In these dire circumstances, we might now have to say that what is difficult to think is an end of man that could possibly be organized by a dialectics of truth and negativity, an end of man that could possibly be a teleology in the first person plural, other than that which leads to the eschaton of complete nomic collapse, of course.

It is in this context that Bennington returns to Derrida’s approach to, and distancing from, the Kantian stipulation that a dignity “worthy of the name” be returned to politics, in such a way that a new politics—a repoliticization, another concept of the political—be forged in which rational beings are treated always as an end, “and not merely as a means to be arbitrarily used by this or that will” (Kant, Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals). What is ultimately at stake (and this is inevitable in this proposition) is the aporia of a political re-instrumentalization of man as an end in itself, rather than as a value, even though dignitas is only ever an expression of value—of a certain auctoritas—and, as such, the expression of a certain property of the State. The question of force still, and perhaps only ever, haunts this attempt to make room for, and to distance oneself from, dignity in the politics, property and titles of the State.

Bennington asks: “Is it possible to think of a dignity that is not bound up in (and, one might be temped to say, compromised by) the teleological structures of the Kantian Idea?” It is this question that leads to the question of the structure of (in)dignity—the constitutive indignity—that upholds “the supposed dignity of [all] metaphysical concepts”. From an infrapolitical, rather than from a classical political perspective, what is at stake here is how to try to make room not for dignity in real politics, and therefore in the administration of force (auctoritas), but to let the dignity of a remove from the metaphysics of force (that is, a constitutive indignity) be involved in existence. With this question of constitutive indignity in mind, we are left to wonder if there is an infrapolitical inflection—an inflection that is without doubt akin at all times to the protocols of deconstruction, but that is not necessarily bound by the protocols of deconstruction—; I repeat, is there an infrapolitical inflection available to us that might allow us to reckon with the distance from auctoritas, from the property titles of the State or the dignity of metaphysics, from a site other than that of the Kantian inheritance that Derrida reckons with from “The Ends of Man” (1968) all the way through to the end itself in 2004?

At this point I will merely offer an example, and that, precisely, is the weakness of everything that follows (though in Specters of Marx Derrida notes that “an example always carries beyond itself; it opens up a testamentary dimension” (41). I wonder, then, whether in the example there lies the problem and possibility of an infrapolitical inflection that turns away from the political, and turns in the direction of allowing that the dignity of a remove from force be involved not in politics, but in existence.

Of all people, it is Cicero the elderly statesman who might exemplify such an inflection. In a brief essay published in 1960, the Oxford classicist J.P.V.D. Balsdon recounts Cicero’s return from exile and ultimate political capitulation in 56BC, when, in the face of “the prolonged triumph of gangsterdom which followed his exile” (49), Cicero found himself obliged to turn his back on the dignity and prestige of a public life. He had become an ineffective pariah in the motley world of populist resentment. What is at stake in Balsdon’s treatment of this moment in the history of the Republic are the slight shifts in Cicero’s uses of the terms dignitas and otium, together, at this particular time of capitulation and relinquishment.

In general, the term otium referred to the private or retired, as opposed to active public, life. However, in public life otium could also refer to peace and freedom from disturbance, or relief after war and internal disorder (47). It referred to a form of serenity or harmony in the wake of war. Upon Cicero’s political capitulation, Balsdon says, “the opening remark of the De Oratore, [signaling pseudos] which was finished in 55, introduces the new conception ‘cum dignitate otium’. ‘Otium’ is now retirement, the condition of the elder statesman who turns his back on the political. His active political life, his consulships and proconsulships are at an end (49). “Battling through the stormy seas of popular agitation”, observes Balsdon, Cicero had to “make for a different harbor . . . ‘cum dignitate otium’” (50). For the classicist Balsdon this is a harbor of studious relief from disturbance, freedom from agitation, and relief after war and internal disorder, for “persistence in opposition which was doomed to ineffectiveness would not, for the Roman world at large, promote “cum dignitate otium’” (50).

Learning to turn one’s back on the political in order to exist “cum dignitate otium”, learning to be without or in the absence of the dignitas of auctoritas, and, as a result, detouring back toward the constitutive indignity of the pre-political, and doing so while understanding at all times the agitations of the world of force, Cicero would have confronted and suffered the weight of a dignity uprooted from all titles of community. This would have been a dignity without dwelling in political life, and therefore not entirely worthy of its name, since at the same time it would have been a return to a constitutive indignity that was destined to always fall short of the political metaphysics of gathering, of majesty, or of any harbor.

Surely Cicero would have lived it as a “sad or sober pragmatic renunciation of some fuller version of dignity”, as Bennington puts it at the end of Scatter. But perhaps one could speculate that it is here—“cum dignitate otium”, in the infrapolitical turn back to a constitutive indignity that is exposed to real and symbolic death itself—that one could learn to exist, think, and write in an infrapolitical rather than a political fashion. It is there that one might have to learn to live with the without, in such a way as to exist not in the name of dignity or of a future politics or communal title anchored by the sublime or the general structure of “going beyond”, but in the name of a without that nevertheless lets the dignity of the remove from the public world of force be involved in existence. Perhaps it is cum dignitate otium’s passive movement of allowing to be involved in existence—of a care for that which comes at a remove from the biopolitical orientation and administration of forcethat forges the possibility not of a new democratic form, of a re-democratization built liberally on the logics of inclusion and exclusion, but of an infrapolitical scatter of mastery and title that casts freedom from among the ashes.

Ya no una réplica. A Sebastiaan Faber. Por Alberto Moreiras.

IMG_5254

Gracias, Sebastiaan, por tu respuesta. Vamos a dejar a un lado en todo lo posible lo ad hominem, aunque no sea nunca totalmente posible, pues al fin y al cabo hablamos de palabras escritas por otros.   Pero a mí no podría traerme más sin cuidado lo de “dar caña,” que es una expresión que yo asocio, efectivamente, con lo peor y más castizo de la cultura española.   Desde luego quiero desmarcarme explícitamente de cualquier lectura que suponga que yo defiendo a Cercas y te ataco a ti. Ni defiendo (ni ataco) a Cercas, sino a su novela, ni te ataco (ni te defiendo) a ti, sino a tu reseña de la novela, con respecto de la cual ya dije que tenía objeciones de fondo, que expuse.

Pongamos que Menéndez Pelayo es el más listo o sabio y castizo de los dadores de caña, cazaherejes de larguísimo aliento—un hombre cuyo talento como crítico literario y cultural quedaba siempre en segundo plano, quizá por discreta modestia, ante lo que para él necesariamente imperaba, que era cuidar las esencias de la verdad política del corral hispano tal como él la entendía. A mí me interesa, en mi propia práctica, no tomar a Menéndez Pelayo como modelo, ni por activa ni por pasiva, ni directa ni inversamente.   Ni a sus numerosos discípulos por la derecha y por la izquierda. Es posible que el menéndezpelayismo, en cuanto estructura, sea la constante más fiel de nuestra historia crítica. Yo defiendo una forma alternativa de relación con el mundo en la que cazar brujas no tiene lugar, o es lo que hacen los otros, quizás porque sé y me consta que yo mismo podría caer de bruja en cualquier redada, y no me apasiona la papeleta. Que conste—ya sé que consta—que no hablo de la tarea crítica como intento de gozar de paz perpetua: el desacuerdo y el conflicto no son solamente legítimos, sino que son lo que hay, lo que siempre hay, y nada es más violento que la supresión misma del conflicto, la pretensión de que no lo hay o de que no debería haberlo. Hay conflicto, y es el conflicto lo que da lugar a la necesidad crítica. También, por supuesto, a la política.

Pero nada de dar caña—al menos por mi parte. Nuestro intercambio tiene por otro lado la posibilidad de dar pie a una discusión más amplia y despersonalizada, más allá de ti y de mí, también más allá de Javier Cercas, y quizás debiéramos aprovechar la ocasión. Ojalá otros también lo hagan. No intento contestarte a todo ni devolverte la lectura “punto por punto” ni nada por el estilo. Me repetiría. Voy más bien a lo que más me interesa.

Yo creo que la cuestión de fondo es la siguiente: un escritor—un novelista, un filósofo, un artista—, en la medida en que lo es, tiene su verdad vital en su tarea, en cuanto obra o en cuanto desobra, en cuanto logro de escritura o fallo de escritura. Al margen de eso, esa persona puede tener innúmeras opiniones políticas y deportivas, sobre el amor o la caza, sobre la ciencia o la historia. Pero a mí, desde la opinión de que cada uno es muy dueño de tener las opiniones que le parezcan, faltaba más, no me interesan particularmente sus opiniones. Si a mí esa persona llega a interesarme, me interesa como novelista, como filósofo, como artista. Y así yo no tendré ningún inconveniente en juzgarlo políticamente, pero tendería a hacerlo desde sus ideas tal como estén reflejadas en su obra (o en su desobra), y por cierto no en su obra en general, sino en la obra bajo consideración en cada caso. La diferencia entre ideas y opiniones es un viejo caballo de batalla de Nietzsche, pero no ha dejado de ser relevante desde entonces.   Hoy, particularmente, parece haber muchas más opiniones que ideas, y eso es también verdad en nuestro malhadado campo profesional—hablo de ese “hispanismo norteamericano” que impacienta a Cercas, pero como supones no solo de él.   Y eso es un problema. No podemos pretender hacer nuestro trabajo privilegiando opiniones, y sobre todo no podemos naturalizar el reino de la opinión como dador de mérito y prestigio, o como acarreador de deshonra y oprobio.   Las opiniones están muy bien, para amigos y conocidos, o para los pájaros, pero profesionalmente uno debiera preferir alguna idea que otra.

Si Pablo Iglesias escribiera una novela, a mí, suponiendo que se me ocurriera leerla, no me interesaría procesarla desde las opiniones políticas del líder, por muy líder que sea, o por muchas opiniones políticas que tenga. Cuando publica una novela, nos invita a leerla para entenderla, y si quieres para pasar juicio sobre ella, pero desde la idea de esa novela, no desde las opiniones que la circunden.   Decir esto no me coloca en ninguna arcaica o árquica posición de crítico textualista. Se trata más bien de algo otro: no tengo tiempo para perderlo en evaluar si la chorrada dicha el viernes en la radio o la frase conmovedora pronunciada en la televisión pueden explicar la novela o el tratado. Todo mi tiempo está más bien ocupado en saber si es la novela o el tratado el que suelta chorradas o entona conmovedoras oraciones. No me parece que esto sea trivial, y tampoco me parece que esto sea ninguna marca generacional.   Para mí traza la diferencia entre una lectura hermenéuticamente digna y una lectura sobredeterminada por consideraciones ajenas a la tarea a la mano.  Hasta puedo admitir que la “política” sea una de las consideraciones más urgentes en eso que constituye la tarea a la mano.  Pero no se trata entonces de cualquier “política,” en el sentido de que lo que menos importa son las piedades o las torpezas políticas que se expresen en la literalidad del texto.  Se trata de otra cosa, ni mucho menos accesible al tipo de crítica en curso, hoy incluso dominante.

Y seamos francos: hace ya bastantes años y décadas o siglos que la crítica castiza se orienta hacia la reducción absoluta de toda idea posible desde la circunscripción a opinión de todo lo pensable—y aún encima, a opinión política. Condenamos y celebramos según la opinión política del personaje de turno. Como hacía Menéndez Pelayo. Juzgamos obras y carreras desde las opiniones de los sujetos que las detentan, cuando no, peor, desde el rumor sobre las opiniones que se detentan, desde la sospecha de las opiniones que se rumorean: caza de brujas como práctica heroica de la crítica, de izquierdas o de derechas; caza de brujas biempensante, qué horror.  Y eso es curioso, porque a mí me parece que las opiniones políticas, sobre todo cuando se expresan públicamente, son en general falsas y tramposas—este puede ser un prejuicio mío, pero en todo caso es un prejuicio muy meditado. No me fío ni un pelo de los oradores políticos, sean viejos caimanes taimados o apasionadas mujeres en la flor de la edad. Conozco a mucho mentiroso, y he visto demasiadas cosas en mi vida—y sobre todo he visto cómo las opiniones políticas vienen y van, y lo que queda es siempre distinto.   Conozco a demasiados opinionantes que han montado su carrera sobre su capacidad opinionante, y conozco, en cambio, a pocos que se esfuerzan por alguna otra cosa, que sin duda les lleva a errores y líos, a pérdidas y errancias varias.  Así son las cosas.  Será que hago poca vida social, o que la hago solo entre marranos.

Es por supuesto necesario hablar de política, y deberíamos cuando lo hacemos en todo momento tratar de restituirle a la política su dignidad necesaria. Por eso a mí me parece que la verdadera política—la verdad política—de alguien está siempre y solo en lo que hace y no en lo que dice. Y esto es cierto para todo bicho viviente, y por ende para el escritor, o para el crítico. Es cierto para Cercas, o es cierto para lo que a mí me interesa de Cercas, a quien de antemano le reconozco el derecho absoluto de tener las opiniones que le vengan en gana. No son asunto mío en la medida en que Cercas no está vinculado a mí como lo pueden estar personas más cercanas, con respecto de las cuales tomarles la opinión en cuenta es ineludible. Lo que me importa, de Cercas, por ejemplo, es si su escritura me sirve a mí para algo, para pensar, por ejemplo, en la política, en la historia, en el amor, en la relación de uno consigo mismo, en lo que sea. Y la escritura es lo que hace Cercas, no lo que dice.

En esta discusión creo que lo único realmente relevante es juzgar si la novela de Cercas es una novela que da algo más que opiniones, algo más que posiciones, algo más que gestos subjetivos—que es justo aquello que parece agotar casi toda la novelística española contemporánea, y la crítica, con escasas pero magníficas excepciones.   Tú piensas que la novela de Cercas no es admirable, yo sí. Esa sería, me parece, la única discusión pertinente entre nosotros a propósito de Cercas.   Ahí tenemos un desacuerdo que, quizá, no pueda ser mediado. Ninguna disertación mía lograría quizá convencerte de que lees mal la novela, igual que posiblemente no puedas convencerme tú a mí tampoco de que no se trata de una novela magnífica, que dice algo, y que dice algo que es verdadero para quien lo pueda entender. O para los muchos que sí lo entienden, como creo que yo mismo, sin ir más lejos. Quizá porque yo, como tantos, también he tenido familia en el campo franquista, aunque esto está muy lejos de parecerme una condición de entendimiento.

No sé, claro, si estás de acuerdo con mi determinación de lo que yo defino como la única zona de acuerdo o desacuerdo relevante. Quizás entonces haya que hablar también de estilos de la crítica, y haya que dejar que prolifere el conflicto, que ojalá sea siempre de ideas y no de aburridas opiniones.   Lo único necesario es evitar que “dar caña” al enemigo político se nos vaya de la mano y que ese acabe siendo el estilo.   Por razones fundamentalmente políticas: sería terrible un mundo así, el mundo castizo del que la historia de España ha dado ya tantos ejemplos.   Este es el corazón del problema que lleva a este intercambio, me parece.   Yo pienso que hay que cuidarse de la descalificación del otro desde ninguna suficiencia cultural, desde ninguna creencia de que uno está en lo cierto, y mucho menos en lo políticamente cierto y piadoso.   La crítica, el pensamiento, deberían ser otra cosa—y la esfera pública, en la que por cierto, yo ni juego ni aspiro a jugar papel alguno, puede irse a paseo.

Como digo, uso nuestro primer intercambio como medio para plantear una discusión más amplia, y de invitar a otros a participar en ella. Ni es mi intención ni mi estilo buscar que te des personalmente por aludido en nada de lo que he dicho.  Sé que tú lo entiendes ya así, siendo quien eres–esta es realmente una frase para otros.

 

 

 

Sobre El monarca de las sombras: respuesta a Alberto Moreiras

IMG_5254Antes que nada, quiero agradecer a Alberto Moreiras que haya expuesto sus discrepancias con mi reflexión sobre El monarca de las sombras, el último libro de Javier Cercas, públicamente, para así permitir un intercambio también público de pareceres.

Si le entiendo bien, a Alberto le chocan varias cosas diferentes en mi argumento. Le parece que he leído mal el libro de Cercas (“una obra admirable”), sin apreciar su móvil central ni su calidad literaria; que he aplicado criterios simplistas (criterios demasiado políticos, prejuiciados y esquemáticos) para entender y juzgarlo; y que en mi texto no empleo el tono apropiado: que me expreso de forma demasiado personal, hiriente y autosuficiente. De hecho, mi texto le parece directamente nocivo y acaba por desaconsejar su lectura.

Debo confesar que la cuestión del tono es la que más zozobra me produce. Me consta que no siempre soy capaz de resistir la tentación de la hipérbole efectista o de la ironía quizás excesivamente punzante. Que ese gusto por la agudeza polémica se lea como autosuficiencia o arrogancia es algo que lamento de verdad, más aún si así acabo por socavar mi propia credibilidad. Me preocupa que pueda dar la impresión de no tener ningún reparo en cuestionar la legitimidad o autoridad de otros al mismo tiempo que asumo la mía propia como dada. Es verdad que intento siempre expresarme de forma clara, directa y entretenida, una voluntad de estilo que puede tener, como efecto colateral, el acabar siendo insufrible. Pero la autosuficiencia es otra cosa: implica no admitir crítica o visiones alternativas porque uno se basta a sí mismo. Y mi concepto del trabajo intelectual es el contrario: para mí, el conocimiento y la comprensión nacen de, y sobreviven gracias al diálogo. Siempre veo mis lecturas y reflexiones como tentativas, en espera de contestación; una jugada nada más de un esperado juego dialéctico.

En ese espíritu, vayan un par de apuntes en respuesta a las críticas que el texto de Alberto desarrolla, que de hecho son similares a las críticas que el propio Cercas anticipa a su obra en las entrevistas.

Al comienzo de mi texto sobre El monarca, hago un intento por ubicar a Cercas en el paisaje intelectual en el que opera, con el fin de intentar establecer hasta qué punto este nuevo libro afecta esa ubicación. Esto a Alberto le sorprende. “Resulta que hoy”, nota, molesto, “a los intelectuales o a los artistas o a los historiadores, por lo menos a los españoles, hay que interrogarlos en relación con el lugar que ocupan o quieren ocupar en la esfera pública española. Es una nueva —pero no tan nueva— modalidad de la crítica castiza. En realidad es la más castiza de las críticas”.

No entiendo muy bien la objeción. Publicar un libro es un acto de intervención en la esfera pública. Publicar un libro sobre un tema que ha sido objeto de intenso debate durante unos veinte años lo es todavía más. Cercas tiene una presencia en la esfera pública: como novelista y como intelectual (o articulista). En su calidad de comentarista de la actualidad se dirige al público en general todos los domingos. Ocupa una posición institucional e ideológica. Si sale con un texto nuevo, cabe preguntarse cómo ese nuevo texto se relaciona con esa posición. ¿Qué hay de “castizo” en ello? Me parece un ejercicio crítico habitual, aplicable a todos los contextos. Alberto ocupa un lugar determinado en el paisaje académico norteamericano, en su campo y en la esfera pública española. Yo también. Alberto, parece, lee la frase “qué lugar ocupa” como síntoma de una voluntad reduccionista, un intento por encasillar a Cercas de antemano, y para siempre, en un burdo esquema partidista, algo que de hecho no tiene que ver con mi premisa. Así, quizá el reduccionismo está en declarar, como hace Alberto: “Lo bueno es ser de Podemos y no ser de ‘la casta’, y todo lo demás es sospechoso, para el crítico au courant, o directamente malo”. Creo que eso sí que implica encasillarme a mí como militante dogmático.

Es verdad que mi recepción del texto está —cómo no— condicionada por la producción de Cercas hasta la fecha; su producción literaria tanto como periodística, dos géneros que, en su caso particular, funcionan como vasos comunicantes. De hecho, sus textos muchas veces tratan de los mismos temas y es común que Cercas cite sus propios columnas y artículos en sus libros. También es verdad que, junto con autores como Morán o Sánchez-Cuenca, creo que la esfera pública española ha sido un espacio en que se ha venido librando una lucha de relatos sobre el pasado, el presente y el futuro de España; y que Cercas ha sido un participante activo en esa lucha. ¿Es posible leer este libro sin tomar en cuenta la actividad pública del autor, todo aquello que para Moreiras es mero “ruido”? Claro que sí, pero a mí esa lectura no me parece que sea necesariamente más legítima, o menos “contaminada”, que la que lee el libro en el contexto en que fue escrito y publicado.

Con respecto al propio libro, Alberto no está de acuerdo en que uno de sus temas principales sea la dinámica entre vergüenza y orgullo en torno a la filiación: la tensión entre, por un lado, el genuino afecto familiar (el amor de la madre a su tío; el amor del narrador a su madre) y, por otro, la cuestionable posición política del tío abuelo y, por extensión, la de su familia. Pero el Cercas narrador deja bastante claro que esa posición política de su familia fue durante muchos años una fuente de vergüenza. (Habla de un “territorio íntimo, opaco y vergonzante”.) Mi argumento es que lo que el libro relata es la resolución de esa tensión y la superación de esa vergüenza. Así resume Alberto mi lectura:

El problema filiativo de Cercas sería que en esta “nueva novela” (pero no es una novela) no hay catarsis, sino vergüenza, la vergüenza de “los orígenes políticos de [su] familia” (4).  No hay catarsis, entonces, sino, dice descaradamente Faber, “una salida del armario” (4), es decir, insólito juicio, Cercas estaría asumiendo su propia filiación franquista con orgullo en El monarca de las sombras.

Para precisar, no dije que no hubiera catarsis, sino que la catarsis en este libro consiste en la resolución de la tensión entre filiación y vergüenza. Esa resolución se produce cuando Cercas por fin se da cuenta de que va a ser capaz de relatar la historia del tío, y de su familia, de forma que le permita sentir otra cosa que no sea vergüenza. La resolución la logra Cercas de varias maneras. Investiga todo lo que puede sobre su tío abuelo y, en los capítulos pares, usa los resultados de esa investigación para narrar la historia de su vida a modo de historiador “objetivo”. También interpreta el destino de su tío abuelo a la luz de ejemplos literarios e históricos, en particular la épica homérica (en la cual el tío Manuel se convierte en un trasunto de Aquiles). En la apoteosis del libro, que se produce cuando el narrador y su madre entran a la casa donde murió el tío abuelo, el narrador, “eufórico”, acaba por asumir su filiación como una parte inevitable de su identidad. Esa asunción de su herencia también incluye la oportunidad —si no el deber— de narrar la historia del tío abuelo, de forma que, en lugar de sólo vergüenza, también pueda ser una fuente de orgullo. La cita es larga pero me parece mejor ponerla entera:

… por fin iba a contar la historia que llevaba media vida sin contar, iba a contarla para contarle a mi madre la verdad de Manuel Mena, la verdad que no podía o no me atrevía a contarle de otra forma, no sólo la verdad de la memoria y la leyenda y el fantaseo, que era la que ella había creado o había contribuido a crear y la que yo llevaba escuchando desde niño, sino también la verdad de la historia, la áspera verdad de los hechos, iba a contar esa doble verdad porque contenía una verdad más completa que las otras dos por separado y porque sólo yo podía contarla, nadie más podía hacerlo, iba a contar la historia de Manuel Mena para que existiera del todo, dado que sólo existen del todo las historias si alguien las escribe, pensé, pensando en mi tío Alejandro, por eso iba a contarla, para que Manuel Mena, que no podía vivir para siempre en la volátil memoria de los hombres igual que el Aquiles heroico de la Ilíada, viviera al menos en un libro olvidado como sobrevive el Aquiles arrepentido y melancólico de la Odisea en un rincón olvidado de la Odisea, contaría la historia de Manuel Mena para que su historia desdichada de triple perdedor de la guerra (de perdedor secreto, de perdedor disfrazado de ganador) no se perdiera del todo, iba a contar esa historia, pensé, para contar que en ella había vergüenza pero también orgullo, deshonor pero también rectitud, miseria pero también coraje, suciedad pero también nobleza, espanto pero también alegría, y porque en esa historia había lo que había en mi familia y tal vez en todas las familias —derrotas y pasión y lágrimas y culpa y sacrificio—, comprendí que la historia de Manuel Mena era mi herencia o la parte fúnebre y violenta e hiriente y onerosa de mi herencia, y que no podía seguir rechazándola, que era imposible rechazarla porque de todos modos tenía que cargar con ella, porque la historia de Manuel Mena formaba parte de mi historia y por lo tanto era mejor entenderla que no entenderla, asumirla que no asumirla, airearla que dejar que se corrompiera dentro de mí como se corrompen dentro de quien tiene que contarlas las historias fúnebres y violentas que se quedan sin contar, escribir a mi modo el libro sobre Manuel Mena era, pensé en fin, lo que siempre había pensado que era, hacerme cargo de la historia de Manuel Mena y de la historia de mi familia, pero también pensé, pensando en Hannah Arendt, que ésa era la única forma de responsabilizarme de ambas, la única forma también de aliviarme y emanciparme de ambas, la única forma de usar el destino de escritor con el que mi madre me había escrito o en el que me había confinado para que ni siquiera mi madre me escribiese, para escribirme a mí mismo.

Asumir públicamente, con un punto de orgullo, lo que uno ve como parte esencial de su identidad aunque hasta ese momento haya sido motivo de vergüenza: ¿no es afín al proceso que llamamos salir del armario? Además llama la atención el paralelismo entre este pasaje sobre el tío abuelo (figura filiativa) y el final de Soldados de Salamina, donde el narrador, también eufórico, en el tren de regreso después de conocer a Miralles (figura afiliativa), decide contar su historia (“allí vi de golpe mi libro, … supe que, aunque en ningún lugar de ninguna ciudad de ninguna mierda de país fuera a haber nunca una calle que llevara el nombre de Miralles, mientras yo contase su historia Miralles seguiría de algún modo viviendo …”).

Para Alberto, en cambio, El monarca no se trata de política, o al menos no es su enfoque central. Escribe:

El libro —no es novela, o llamarlo novela es perezoso— cuenta el esfuerzo por rastrear lo que queda, lo que es todavía averiguable.  …  Se trata … de entrar en relación con fantasmas familiares, y de enfrentar la relación con una madre anciana y cerca de su muerte. Se trata también de solucionar, literariamente, el trauma encriptado de la emigración. Y se trata de indagar, literariamente, en qué cosa sea una muerte en la flor de la vida, y si no es mejor vivir una vida larga y sencilla y poco heroica. Se trata, sobre todo, como siempre en la escritura, que es, en el mejor de los casos, interpretación de la vida en su facticidad, no en su idealidad, de solucionar problemas personales, muy al margen de su inscripción en la esfera pública, aunque por supuesto expuestos a ella.

Todo esto, me parece, es verdad; el libro, en efecto, se enfrenta a fantasmas familiares; reflexiona sobre la relación con la anciana madre; recuenta los efectos de la emigración a Catalunya y reflexiona sobre el significado de la vida a la luz de una muerte joven en batalla. Pero lo que les da peso a estos cuatro elementos, lo que hace que sean tan difíciles (y al mismo tiempo tan necesarios) de enfrentar para el narrador, no es un marco que sea pura o limpia o abstractamente personal o existencial: es la intersección de esa historia personal con un marco colectivo, histórico y político. Un marco en que las consecuencias de las decisiones y actuaciones políticas de los últimos 80 años siguen reverberando de forma muy tangible en la España actual: política, social y económicamente. Es lo que quise decir cuando decía que el problema de la filiación “pesa como una losa” sobre Cercas: el libro parece sugerir que, para avanzar en la vida individual y colectiva, nos toca asumir nuestras herencias para poder liberarnos de ellas.

En el caso de Cercas, este proceso pasa por narrar la historia de su familia, y de su tío abuelo, de forma que le permita rescatarlos como políticamente equivocados pero moralmente admirables. Pero esta distinción entre moral y política le permite no sólo narrar las peripecias de Manuel Mena en clave épica, sino, en última instancia, librarle del todo de la responsabilidad moral de su decisión política: “le engañaron haciéndole creer que defendía sus intereses cuando en realidad defendía los intereses de otros y que estaba jugándose la vida por los suyos cuando en realidad sólo estaba jugándosela por otros. Que murió por culpa de una panda de hijos de puta que envenenaban el cerebro de los niños y los mandaban al matadero”. Aquí, me parece, hay un escamoteo: en Cercas, la afectividad o sentimentalidad de la filiación asumida acaba por impedir una relación crítica (y más difícil y dolorosa) con el pasado.

Así nos topamos con la valoración más subjetiva o estética del libro, que para Alberto es “admirable” y para mí no tanto. El problema lo constituye la forma (literaria) en que Cercas se enfrenta en este libro a sus desafíos como hijo de emigrantes, como hijo de su madre, sobrino nieto de un soldado falangista y descendiente de familia franquista. Aunque esos desafíos sin duda son genuinos, no creo que la obra les haga justicia en toda su complejidad. Aquí el problema es de estilo y de encuadre. Para mí, el filtro melodramático que colorea todo el texto le quita profundidad a lo que cuenta. Literariamente, en otras palabras, el libro me suena a falso. Y en la medida en que este relato incorpora la historia, también la deja de cartón piedra.

En cierto sentido, con su texto Alberto me ofrece lo que en holandés llamamos “una galleta de mi propia masa” (een koekje van eigen deeg). Yo le di caña a Cercas; Alberto me la da a mí. Me pone “en mi lugar”, señalando a mi autosuficiencia, y censurando mi tono. Más aún, advierte que si alguna pericia tengo, es de poco fuste puesto que al fin y al cabo, me he “hecho recientemente experto en el tema”. Le agradezco que lo haga con cariño, y me lo tomo en serio. Eso sí, creo que si algo coincidimos es precisamente en un modelo crítico que apuesta por la censura pública; el “dar caña” es un tipo de argumento que inevitablemente parece resbalar hacia la crítica o el apoyo personal (se denuncia “con cariño”). Destaca, por su ausencia, otro tipo de práctica crítica, menos agresiva y competitiva o quizá menos masculina: literalmente, menos “ad hominem”.

Por lo demás —y hablando de autoridad y legitimidad: quién tiene el derecho de pronunciarse sobre un libro, un autor, un país— me parece indispensable lo que hace Moreiras: cuestionar el papel de los supuestos expertos. Es verdad que la historia del hispanismo tiene sus claroscuros, y que ciertos hispanistas todavía desempeñan un papel curioso, anacrónico, como emisores de discurso legitimador o deslegitimador en la España actual. Eso sí: es una desfachatez desvergonzada afirmar, como lo ha hecho Cercas no una sino dos veces, que “hay más de un hispanista norteamericano que hubiera preferido que nos matásemos para luego venir aquí y escribir sus libros”.

Passive Decision by Sergio Villalobos-Ruminott

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Passive Decision

Let me start by thanking Alberto Moreiras for the organization of this workshop, and Geoff Bennington for being part of it.

I want to begin by stating the relevance of Scatter 1, a book not only remarkable in its articulation, rigor, and deep engagement with contemporary post-Heideggerian philosophy, but also a book that has as one of its many merits the configuration of a systematic, yet not conventional, horizon of thinking, a constellation. His readings of Foucault’s Parrhesia, the co-belonging of Aletheia and Pseudos, the complications of Dasein’s Entschlossenheit, the configuration of the quasi-transcendental in Derrida’s engagement with Kant and Heidegger, the relevance of Kierkegaard understanding of time and the Momentum to Heidegger’s early thought, the incompleteness of sovereignty, the folding of dignity and majesty, the problematization of the continuities between the eschatological and the theo-teleological, and so on. Issues that in the book are carefully articulated and masterfully presented to the reader. I have not doubt when I say that this is a fundamental book not only in the general context of contemporary scholarship but also in the most appealing context of the humanities and the future of deconstruction and/in the American university.

Therefore, my few observations now are to be read just as a preliminary reaction to the gift of this book, a reaction that could never be misunderstood as a critique or as an attempt to appropriate the inner complexity of the thinking at stake here. Certainly, the rigorous crafting of its arguments, the meticulous archival work feeding them, the detailed reading and persecution of some key ideas through Heidegger and Derrida’s writings, and the obvious command of contemporary scholarship relevant to its problems, should not conceal the fact that this is also a risky articulation of Heidegger and Derrida relationship. This is a risky book and I should say that there is not thinking without a risk, that the risk taken in its elaboration is proportional to the degree a book departs from merely reproducing what is already known, what has already been said, even if not heard yet. Somehow, hearing what others cannot hear is also risking in a non-conventional way of reading.

I wanted to dwell here because what matters to me is not just the narrative of the book, rather the way in which the author positions himself in the series of problems that configure the relationship between Heidegger and Derrida. And right here it is evident to me that the understanding of the book’s arguments will change as we have access to Scatter 2, a complementary volume that not necessarily will complete the project, but rather will emphasizes, I want to believe, the scattering effect of its architecture, an architecture, if I may say, that is not an architectonic configuration of the fundaments for a new kind of philosophy, for a new philosophical foundation of politics and history. There is not, I dare to say, a “minimal politics” enabled in this architecture, in this scattering, mimicking the “Grand Politics” enabled by the architectonic founding the Critique of the Pure Reason. The politics of politics presented in the book is, on the contrary, an indication of the distance, or better, a way of distancing itself from the onto-political structure of the metaphysical demand imposed on thinking as political thinking, as political philosophy. Moreover, it is not just a deconstruction of political philosophy and its categories, it is a more integral, radical if you want, interrogation of political philosophy as a disciplinary mechanism oriented to control, to give reason, to organize, to en-frame, the scattered condition of the real. In this sense, the politics of politics is not anti-political, neither a-political, but a sort of suspension of the political demand that seems more related to our own infrapolitical insistence.

In other words, the difference between the scatter and the architectonic “models” of thinking should not be overlooked, because it expresses one of the book’s main claims, the difference between Kant’s regulative idea and Derrida’s understanding of the time à venir, which is also reflected in the relationship between thinking and writing. Thinking as writing, since Bennington is able to dwell in the complexity of contemporary thinking without repeating the conventional gesture of reading it as a system, as a gestell, as an already finished and closed moment, as an epoch. Indeed, his work with the authors, and with some “minimal’ and overlooked problems present in these author, problems that seems to be irrelevant to philosophy and to the history of thought, questions the very organization of philosophical work (concerned with Being) as epochality. To put it in other terms, if Schürmann (Broken Hegemonies) is interested in criticize the onto-theo-logical organization of philosophy by bringing to the fore the principial economy that is always articulating and feeding a particular epoch through a donation of language; Bennington, in a more Derridian way, is less concerned with the epochal organization of thought, or with the principial economy articulating and feeding the texts of a particular moment of the onto-theo-logical tradition, and more concerned with the inner and unresolved battle of forces at the core of these texts. And this is an important point to which I should come back in another moment, but it seems to me relevant to point here that what is at stake in it isn’t just a matter related to philosophy and its history, but also to the practice of reading.

I would even say that this is coherent with the problem the book gives to itself as its main concern: temporality as the only “quasi-transcendental” dimension of existence, and here the book could already be read not only as an elaboration of the ambiguities of the kairology and the Pauline understanding of the event, the Momentum, and the resolution as radical decision implied there, but also as a continuation of one of the main issues Derrida identifies in Heidegger and his unsatisfactory elaboration of temporality beyond what he called the “metaphysical or vulgar conception of time”.

Let me put this in another way. One of the merits of Scatter I is the suggestion of Heidegger’s existential analytic as the unavoidable place in which any relevant thinking today should dwell. But it does not mean that thinking should just conform itself with Heidegger’s presentation of Dasein whereabouts; on the contrary, if Being and time is read in the context of Heidegger’s early writings, the problem Bennington is working here takes him beyond Heidegger to Derrida. And not in an easy way, because this elaboration of the Derrida-Heidegger relationship should first of all overcome the many resistance one finds in Heideggerian scholars today, people that still consider deconstruction as a postmodernist passion, while, at the same time, should overcome the resistance to engage Heidegger’s philosophy and its Nazism. Not Heidegger without Derrida, not Derrida without Heidegger. And this is the worth of this book, its problem and its reason. Whether we agree with Bennington’s reading of Heidegger’s “decisionism” or not, with his subtle emphases on Heidegger’s shortcomings and problematic privilege on Being over beings (scatter), or, alternatively, we oppose to this the later Heidegger and the reworking of the ontological difference as something else than the Poem of Being (and all this nomenclature of conservative Heideggerians), what is certain is the relevance of Scatter I in focusing the problem on this unresolved relationship that marks the singularity of our historical occasion (Heidegger-Derrida).

As I already said, there are many important elements to consider here, and I cannot do justice to any one properly in these preliminary comments, but I will just mention two o three of the most appealing questions I have after reading the book. These, of course, are not questions addressed to Geoff, but the mere indication of what would be the topics of a more sustained engagement with the book in the future.

1) The status of philosophy and the problem of power. Let me refer to Derrida seminar of 1964-5 on Heidegger (a seminar which translation we owe to Geoff), when Derrida makes clear that the destruction of the onto-theological tradition is not just the destruction of the classical ontology in order to articulate a new or fundamental ontology organized by the restitution of the question of Being. On the contrary, the destruction of the tradition, of the history of the knowledge about Being, is both, the destruction of all sorts of ontology and, at the same time, the destruction of philosophy as the discourse concerning the traditional disposition of Being. The destruction of philosophy (and one should keep in mind the positive dimension of destruktion more than the “critical” one) is the “suspension” or weakening of its traditional role concerning Being, a role of over-codification that limits every time again, the crucial problem of being as historicity. In this sense, the subtle yet powerful reading of Heidegger performed by Geoff could be interrogated in his unwillingly restitution of Heidegger thought as a “system” (at least in the “systematicy” of his mistakes). This is, again, why confronting this reading with the “reversed” hypothesis of Shürmann’s Heidegger on Being and Acting: from Principles to Anarchy (1987), might be telling for our infrapolitical reflections. What is the relationship of philosophy and power, more than politics, implicated in Scatter I? How to avoid re-philosophizing Derrida’s deconstruction of some philosophical moments without renouncing philosophy as such, in an un-thoughtful philosophical anti-philosophy? I am thinking in Derrida’s comments on Heidegger’s destruction of philosophy as the history of ontology; comments that emphasize how the destruction of philosophy was, besides everything else, an unavoidable engagement with philosophy, the primary place to understand the ontological “capture” of being. I am also thinking, along this way, in Derrida’s understanding of philosophy as a weak institution, nothing to do with the Italian pensiero debole, an institution that is both necessary but always problematic. (I add here what Alberto and Maddalena also commented on this point: not just, what is the status of philosophy in relation to thought? But also, how to avoid in dealing with the tradition of philosophico-political thought being snared by its emphases and economies?)

And I would add a supplementary dimension to this problem related to Heidegger’s National Socialism, as we all somehow know about the unsatisfactory way of dealing with this issue of people like Bourdieu, Farías, Faye; people who cannot deal with the problematic of his thought and reduce, in a sociological way (or just with a great dishonesty) its complexity. If we are to consider Nancy’s early formulation (the best way to confront National Socialism in Heidegger is through his thinking, which is the one that better serves us to formulate in a radical way -not just in a liberal way– the very problem of National Socialism) as a common ground, then we should be able to understand that the very question about the role of philosophical discourses is not innocuous when talking about National Socialism. To put it in a sentence (to which I need to comeback in another moment) the question about the relationship between Heidegger thought and National Socialism is also the question about the relationship between history and philosophy, between historicity and ontology, and in so far as philosophy attempts to condemn Heidegger “mistakes” or his whole thought without questioning the role and “functionalization” of philosophy in general, we remain unable to deal properly with such a problem.

2) The question of eventful thinking and the amphibological understanding of temporality Vis á Vis Derrida’s à venir opposed to the arch-teleological structuration of time in modern philosophy (Kant but also Hegel). Here, I would like to mention what I have been calling for a while the Schmittianism (and the inversed Schmittianism) of contemporary political thought, the thought mainly concerned with the theory of the event (Badiou but also in a more sophisticated way, Agamben and his elaboration of a modal ontology and his Schmittian reading of Benjamin), since in the very conception of the event as an interruption of temporality, what we have is the restitution of the eschatological or theological messianicity of the final judgment that somehow works as a “principle of reason” feeding what, with Heidegger and Derrida, we might call limited historicity. The historicity that still depends upon a particular notion of agency and, therefore, subjectivity, that is always already entrapped in the metaphysical understanding of temporality (Schmitt is, therefore, and besides his anti-Hegelianism, a Hegelian thinkers as his formulation of the political as the quarrel between the friend and the enemy is still snared within Hegel’s powerful understanding of the Subject, and so, most of the contemporary anti-Hegelian thinkers unable to think beyond this particular agency and the political demand that is proper to Hegel, and besides their appealing to multiplicities, multitudes, and so forth).

Bennington’s interrogation of the Kantian regulative idea is crucial as it implies a restitution of the question of time in a form that differs “radically” from the philosophy of history of capital. But (and here I need to refer to Matías late-Friday question which I wasn’t able to respond properly, not because I can respond it now, but because the question, as a gift, implies a interesting problem), what seems relevant now is not just to correct the ambiguities of Heidegger’s in-famous resource to the “vulgar conception of time” in Being and Time, but to think the predominance of time in the understanding of the event (something that seems already stated in Derrida’s Ousia and Gramme), which will take us to the question of space and the Ereignis as an spacialization (appropriation) of being’s existential conditions. This, of course, points toward the topological configuration of Heidegger later thinking, but remains an interesting strategy to articulate the relationship between the onto-theological conceptions of the event (the different kinds of contemporary excepcionalism, Schmittianism), and the onto-political structuration of the political demand to which philosophy feels the need to respond, again and again.

Radical contingency, immanence, event, decision, interruption, etc., are all names that express more than a solution, the complexity of this interrogation. A complexity that, beyond contemporary political thought, is also important to understand, for example, the status of the quasi-transcendental foundation of the pragmatic orientation of language as communicative reason, since this quasi-transcendental foundation of communication, undeniably Kantian in its heart, re-moralizes (and re-transcendentalizes) the immanence of communication itself in Habermas and Apel. Not to mention the ambivalences of Laclau’s understanding of contingency as opposed to the logic of necessity that would have characterized and limited Marxism, a contingency nonetheless still limited to the prerogatives of the hegemonic articulation. Neither Luhmann’s conception of recursivity and complexity, as his theory of system (to which one needs to pay attention) is still fed by an unproblematic theory of differentiation as adaptation that command, from a secret place, the very logic of contingency that characterizes this elaboration. The systematic condition of this contingency, the one he opposed to classical social theory and to Frankfurt scholars, is still en-framed by a secret principle of evolution, one that doesn’t rest any longer on human agency, but in the system’s ability to adapt and evolve.

3) Finally (for now), in considering the co-belonging of aletheia and pseudos as an originary experience of Dasein, the book suggests the pseudos not as a derivative but as a constitutive element in Dasein confrontation with facticity. Even more, there is not way to separate, convincingly, both elements, which implies that the rhetorico-political is not a secondary dimension to immediate facticity but rather it is constitutive of it (the authentic and the inauthentic are always co-dependent and co-belong). The political, that cannot be just a politics of truth (which is always a politics of principles and, therefore, is always already articulated by a particular economy of signification), is, at the same time, to put this in a more challenging way, always already (Immer Schon) originary. Here then the main point, the politics of politics is not only the renunciation to the political demand that is always a moral demand, but it’s also the affirmation of the political as an originary experience of Dasein. Renouncing to the political demand (and to the emphases of political philosophy) is not to assert the secondary character of the political at all.

Infrapolitical is a desistance to the political demand, but not to the political as such, however, infrapolitical does not have as its main concern the reformulation of any sort of political thinking as it is concerned with the existential dimension of life. But if the existential dimension of life is always already rhetorico-politically constituted, how to explain the infrapolitical desistance without appealing to a sort of unpolluted conception of Dasein. How infrapolitics thinks Dasein’s existential decision without falling into solipsism and decisionism (ipseity)? The answer, I would like to suggest, will start by considering the relationship between historicity and the onto-political demand as an ontological over-codification of historicity as such, something one can explores in Derrida’s seminar of 1964-65.

On the other hand, the existential decision formulated by Nancy, as we have been discussing it these last days, would have to be interrogated again to determine whether it is a decision that presents itself and pretend to be something another than politics or not; something before the political experience or a kind of experience related to a politics otherwise. And here, what is at stake is precisely the reception of Heidegger thought in Derrida and the Derridian constellation that Bennington’s book brought to the fore. This is where Ronald’s paper matters and where I believe we all have a “productive” disagreement. This is an important disagreement as we all agree -it seems to me, particularly after Derrida’s own reading of Heidegger during the 64-5 seminar- in considering any reposition of ontology (whether lax, bland, plastic, historical, etc.) to be unsatisfactory. So, the limiting effect of ontology over historicity, the metaphysical formulation of historicity as depending on a notion of reason, consciousness, subject or science (Hegel, Marx, Husserl, et al.), and the inescapable problem of ipseity and alterity, otherness, incompleteness, and so for, beyond any anthropological reduction of the otherness (to multiculturalism, pluralism, multiplicity, etc.) and / or to a closed referentiality (the face, the sexual difference understood as an identitarian issue, etc.,) is the main issue at stake here. Is the politics of politics an attempt to deal with this metaphysical but also, onto-political problem? If so, how are we to think the fold of infrapolitics in the opening of the politics of politics? This is not a problem we may resolve by just opting to still dwell on Heidegger thought or, alternatively, by repeating what seems to be Derrida’s “decision” regarding Heidegger, a decision that is radically problematized by the publication of the 64-5 seminar. Since we are here not to vote and decide, but rather to practice a sort of passive decision, to dwell in the complex problem of the undecidability and the potentiality, a potentiality other than the one realized in the act, we still might take some time to ponder theses issues carefully; after all, to think, as well as to love, is a matter of time, is to give what one doesn’t have.

So I want to finish these preliminary comments to Geoffrey Bennington’s book, Scatter 1, a book worth of a more elaborated engagement, a book that brings with it the possibility of a new academic exchange, beyond narcissism and the principial economy informing our disciplinary emphases. If this is possible, as it seems to me when listening to all of you, then let’s take this occasion to celebrate what Maddalena has called a good book. Thank you.

College Station, March 2017