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Monthly Archives: March 2015

Mark Kelly has some very interesting thoughts at Contrivers’ Review and some very worthwhile reading on the “Foucault as neoliberal” debate that was (re)ignited thanks to that Jacobin interview a few months back.  A quote:

In The Birth of Biopolitics, Foucault neatly summarises this problem by noting, in relation to the Left-wing coalition that was on the verge of winning state power in France at the time of the lectures, that there had never been a socialist form of governmentality.  That is, socialists have never had their own form of government appropriate to their aims, but rather in practice have either been liberal capitalist governors or had taken the route of the totalitarian party form of government also adopted by fascists. Some readers of Foucault’s lectures seem to have taken him here to be recommending neoliberalism itself as the appropriate governmentality for socialism. That such a view could be imputed to Foucault boggles the mind. He was clear enough that he thought the existing centre-right regime in France in the 1970s was already neoliberal: then as now, it is a socialist alternative to neoliberalism that is needed. The dual danger for Podemos and Syriza is that, on the one hand, they contain enough orthodox Marxists, particularly Trotskyists, that they will repeat mistakes of past attempts to govern in a socialist way, or on the other hand, that they contain enough political naïfs that they will simply fall into standard, which is to say neoliberal, ways of wielding governmental power. Of course, it remains opaque what it can mean to have a socialist governmentality: Foucault never provides us with a solution, only the means for analysing the problem.

Read the whole thing.

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Jacques Rancière, “Who is the Subject of the Rights of Man?”

The expression “infinite justice” was dismissed by the U.S. government a few days after having been put forward as an inappropriate term. But I think that it was fairly appropriate. An infinite justice is not only a justice that dismisses the principles of International Law, prohibiting interference in the “internal affairs” of another state; it is a justice which erases all the distinctions that used to define the field of justice in general: the distinctions between law and fact, legal punishment and private retaliation, justice, police, and war. All those distinctions are boiled down to a sheer ethical conflict between Good and Evil

Aristotle, On Rhetoric, Book 2 – “Orge, or Anger”

Let anger be defined as desire, accompanied by mental and physical distress, for conspicuous retaliation because of a conspicuous slight that was directed, without justification, against oneself or those near to one. If this is what anger is, necessarily the angry person always becomes angry at some particular individual…and because he has done or is going to do something to those near to him; and a kind of pleasure follows all experience of anger from the hope of getting retaliation. It is pleasant for him to think he will get what he wants; but no one wants things that seem impossible for himself to attain, and the angry person desires what is possible for him. Thus, it has been well said of rage [thymos], “a thing much sweeter than honey in the throat, it grows in the beats of men.” A kind of pleasure follows from this and also because people dwell in their minds on retaliating; then the image that occurs creates pleasure, as in the case of dreams.