Reading Notes: Fanon, Black Skin White Masks

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Fanon, BSWM (Markman translation)

Intro

Chp 1 The Negro and Language

Chp 2 The Woman of Color and the White Man

Chp 3 The Man of Color and the White Woman

Chp 4 The So-Called Dependency Complex of Colonized Peoples

Chp 5 The Face of Blackness (preferred: “The Lived Experience of the Black”)

Chp 6 The Negro and Psychopathology

Chp 7 The Negro and Recognition

Chp 8 By Way of Conclusion

Intro

8 “The explosion will not happen today. It is too soon … or too late.”

9 “the black is not a man” / negation, consciousness, cosmos, yes /

9 “the black is a black man … rooted at the core of a universe from which he must be extricated”

[AC: the problem is not that the black is black, but the black is a man-notman]

9 “I propose nothing short of the liberation of the man of color from himself”

10 “Black men want to prove to white men, at all costs, the richness of their thought, the qual value of the intellect. / How do we extricate ourselves?”

11 epidermalization

12 “The architecture of this work is rooted in the temporal. Every human problem must be considered from the stand-[13]point of time.”

13 “And this future is not the future of the cosmos but rather the future of my century, my country, my existence. In no fashion should I undertake to prepare the world that will come later. I belong irreducible to my time.”

13 “… I consider the present in terms of something to be exceeded.”

14 “… what is often called the black soul is a white man’s artifact.”

14 “The educated Negro, slave of the spontaneous and cosmic Negro myth, feels at a given stage that his race no longer understands him. … Then he congratulates himself on this, and enlarging the difference, the incomprehension, the disharmony, he finds in them the meaning of his humanity. Or more rarely he wants to belong to his people. And it is with rage in his mouth and abandon in his heart that he buries himself in the vast black abyss. We shall see that this attitude, so heroically absolute, renounces the present and the future in the name of a mystical past.”

Continue reading “Reading Notes: Fanon, Black Skin White Masks”

Economy, Ecumenes, Communism: Economy as the Devastation of Ecumenes, Communism as the Exit From Economy – by Jacques Fradin

This amazing critique of economic thinking is by Jacques Fradin. I cannot claim responsibility for either the English translation or the distribution of the text – credit should go to my comrades at No New Ideas Press.

We’ll consider the economy (of) capitalism, its “economic” character even more than its “capitalist” one, as the major force of destruction of spaces and forms of life (ecumenes).

The economy-capitalism as an expansive bloc of colonization—of bodies as well as minds.

The economy considered, therefore, as a laying-waste.

We’re going to start by positing the sameness of capitalism and the economy, of what we’ll call economy-capitalism (and not capitalist economy). Or to be perfectly clear: economy=capitalism.

And I’ll add this statement: there’s no non-capitalist economy or alternative economy, whether social or socialist, nor is there a communist or any other (alter) economy. Non-capitalism is non-economy, and communism is radically non-economic.

Further, to put it differently, there doesn’t exist any recoverable economy behind or underneath capitalism.

Starting from this proposition, we’ll arrive at the idea that the economy is a wrecking machine, and that in order to combat this destructive bloc it’s necessary to leave the economy, live communism and deploy anarchy.

This destruction can present itself in various ways: continuous primitive accumulation, internal civil war, extermination of non-economic forms of life, etc.

But it’s crucial to recognize that economy is a devastation: social or socialist economy is just as disastrous as economy-capitalism, as the capitalism that is thought of as “vampirizing the economy” (imagined to be above the economy, as a cancerous or parasitical superstructure besetting the “good economy”).

Economy is constituted and develops through the annihilation of every non-economic form of life, since for its regular operation economy needs a reduced, well-formed type of human, self-seeking and thus predictable individuals who can be counted on and are accountable for their actions. Reliability and accountability are the twin necessities for functional economy.

Of course economy implies a fanatical utilitarianism, but it requires much more: universal calculation, the penetration of the accountable mental form into the most intimate regions of every human being, transformed into (self-evaluable) capital. What is sometimes called the “religion of money” is more radically the “religion of economy”, of the rational scientific evaluable self-evaluable.

The struggle against this devastation of free forms of life implies that we exit from economy, implies political heresy or social secession.

It implies the solid construction of fighting communes and not the cobbling together of alternative economies, be they social, socialist or even communist, or other market socialisms or social market economies.

The economic alternative is not adequate to the situation, being unintelligible and hence dangerous, as is shown by the repeated failures of alternatives organized around an “alter” system of production, obviously still economic (and hence capitalist). The huge failure of socialist economy, and of its capitalist involution, should serve us as a warning signal.

Fighting against the economic devastation implies the construction of non-economic communes. The an-archic communism of these communes is the red thread with which this intervention is woven.

The main theme of devastation and exit from it will be laid out in six parts.

  1. The economy is a despotic political regime that was set in motion by the economic liberalism of the Physiocrats (the economists of the cult) as early as the 18th
  2. This political regime has been actualized, beginning in the 1930’s, in cybernetics or in the idea of the authoritarian technocratic government of experts (the core of fascism).
  3. Economic technocracy can be presented as the power of the committee of “industrial” engineers, engineers working for the well-being of humanity.

The Saint-Simonian industrialist Second Empire, defined as the French origin of European fascism, is the moment when economic technoscience identified itself with the political technoscience of the engineers. This authoritarian moment is decisive, in particular for the attraction it will exert on “social reformers” and “philanthropists” as diverse as Proudhon or Le Play, committed reformers, drawn to practical projects in the social justice domain.

  1. The finest flowering of this technocracy is planning, planning via the

market, which we can call neoliberalism.

Continue reading “Economy, Ecumenes, Communism: Economy as the Devastation of Ecumenes, Communism as the Exit From Economy – by Jacques Fradin”

Bibliography from Cannibal Metaphysics

bill_gold_alienChapter three of Anti-Oedipus is perhaps the most under-valued section of the book. Not only does it provide a concrete typology for working through social formations, but it also demonstrates the working out Deleuze and Guattari’s promise of turning Freud (“the Adam Smith of psychology”) on his head. Just as Althusser noted that Hegel was turned on his by Marx, a move that restored the role of material constitution to the questions of German Idealist philosophy, D&G are interested in how anthropology identifies the ground from which the unconscious springs. The recently published English translation of Eduardo Viveiros de Castro’s Cannibal Metaphysics is a helpful reminder of the lost legacy of a Deleuzian anthropology. D&G’s work was largely taken up in the anglophone anthropologies going through the reflexive turn – their theories were used in the rather narrow methodological introspection of the Western self. Viveiro de Castro instead draws on the Lévi-Straussian tradition from which D&G themselves built their own anthropological argument in Anti-Oedipus.

Reproduced here is the list of anthropological texts in Viveiro de Castro’s Cannibal Metaphysics with publication dates from the years 2000-2008. They should serve as a helpful points of orientation for someone looking to see how Anti-Oedipus could be “updated” with more recent anthropology.

Continue reading “Bibliography from Cannibal Metaphysics”

Maurizio Lazzarato, Signs and Machines, “Introduction”

distorted

To say that desire is part of the infrastructure comes down to saying that subjectivity produces reality. Subjectivity is not an ideological superstructure.

At the time of Leninism, the government had to be overturned – the trade unions were economists, traitors – power had to go to the Soviets: in short, there was an idea, there was something. But here, really, there is no idea. There’s nothing at all. There’s the idea of macroeconomics, of a certain number of factors: unemployment, the market, money, all abstractions that have nothing at all to do with social reality.

-Félix Guattari, “Crise de production de subjectivité,”

Seminar of April 3, 1984

In a seminar in 1984, Félix Guattari argued that the crisis affecting the West since the early 1970s as, more than an economic or political crisis, a crisis of subjectivity. How are we to understand Guattari’s claim?

Germany and Japan came out of the Second World War completely destroyed, under long-term occupation, both socially and (8) psychologically decimated, with “no material assets-no raw materials, no reserve capital.” What explains the economic miracle? “They rebuilt a prodigious ‘capital of subjectivity’ (capital in the form of knowledge, collective intelligence, the will to survive, etc.). Indeed,they invented a new type of subjectivity out of the devastation itself. The Japanese, in particular, recovered aspects of their archaic subjectivity, converting them into the most ‘advanced’ forms of social and material production. [. . .] The latter represents a kind of industrial complex for the production of subjectivity, one enabling a multiplicity of creative processes to emerge, certain of which are, however, highly alienating.”2

Capitalism “launches (subjective) models the way the automobile industry launches a new line of cars.”3 Indeed, the central project of capitalist politics consists in the articulation of economic, technological, and social flows with the production of subjectivity in such a way that political economy is identical with “subjective economy.” Guattari’s working hypothesis must be revived and applied to current circumstances; and we must start by acknowledging that neoliberalism has failed to articulate the relation between these two economies.

Guattari further observes capitalism’s capacity to foresee and resolve systemic crises through apparatuses and safeguards that it came to master following the Great Depression. Today, the weakness of capitalism lies in the production of subjectivity. As a consequence, systemic crisis and the crisis in the production of subjectivity are strictly interlinked. It is impossible to separate economic, political, and social processes from the processes of subjectivation occurring within them. Continue reading “Maurizio Lazzarato, Signs and Machines, “Introduction””

The Time of Waiting

d'est

From Chapter 4 of Jonathan Crary’s 24/7, which I just taught:

Chantal Akerman’s film D’Est (From the East), made in 1 992 and early 1993, carries a heightened self-consciousness about the circumstances of this weighty historical moment. Shot mainly [122] in Poland and Russia in the year and a half following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, it discloses a world in suspension, on the edge of an undetermined future, yet still weighed down by long-standing patterns and habits. Using very long takes, it is an extended portrayal of certain textures of everyday life, sometimes suggesting a Sartrean seriality. In her essay on D’Est, Akerman famously declared that she felt the need to make the film “while there’s still time” (“tant qu’il en est encore temps”).11 In one sense, she meant that she had to finish the project before it was too late, before cultural and economic forces transformed the subject of her work into something different, even unrecognizable. But, given the choices she made ofwhat to record, “while there’s still time” is also a way of saying: while there is still a world of time-in­ common, a world sustained by a collective inhabiting and sharing of time and its rhythms, in the older sense of the word “quotidian.” Continue reading “The Time of Waiting”

Representing Abolition: A Critique of Communisation

go

Highlights from Ray Brassier’s quite substantial critique of “communization”:

Endnotes “argue (rightly, in my view) that there can be no exit from the capital relation because it constitutes us: ‘What we are is, at the deepest level, constituted by this relation, and it is a rupture with the reproduction of what we are that will necessarily form the horizon of our struggles.’11 Thus there can be no secession from the capital relation, only its abolition. Communisation is the name for this abolition-in-process.” Continue reading “Representing Abolition: A Critique of Communisation”

“Who are our nomads today, our real Nietzscheans’?”

no-mand

In a difficult to find essay published in a 1977 collection on Nietzsche, Deleuze ends his piece “Nomadic Thought” (an argument against Kant, neo-Kantianism, and the dialectic) with this wonderful point on nomads:

One final point remains to be made. Let us go back to that grand passage in The Genealogy of Morals about the founders of empires. There we encounter men of Asiatic production, so to speak. On a base of primitive rural communities, these despots construct their imperial machines that codify everything to excess. With an administrative bureaucracy that organizes huge projects, they feed off an overabundance of labor (“Wherever they appear something new soon arises, a ruling structure that fives, in which parts and functions are delimited and coordinated, in which nothing whatever finds a place that has not first been assigned and coordinated, in which nothing whatever finds a place that has not first been assigned a ‘meaning’ in relation to the whole”‘). It is questionable, however, whether this text does not tie together two forces that in other respects would be held apart – two forces that Kafka distinguished, even opposed, in The Great Wall of China. For, when one tries to discover how primitive segmented communities give rise to other forms of sovereignty – a question Nietzsche raises in the second part of The Genealogy – one sees that two entirely different yet strictly related phenomena occur. Continue reading ““Who are our nomads today, our real Nietzscheans’?””