The incoherent discourses that justified the Iraq War were not politically ineffective; to the contrary, they trapped opponents in rhetorical disputes that failed to upset the war effort. The personalized ridicule of President Bush and the ‘I Told You So’ narrative behind Cindy Sheehan’s opposition to the Iraq War confirm that rhetorical challenges to state violence often fall into traps like those set for disputing homophobic discourse. Treating the Iraq War as the result of a personality problem, anti-war rhetoric created an economy of ridicule that failed to engage larger questions of geopolitical power and furthered a politics of identification that dismissed criticism before its claims could be evaluated. The ‘I Told You So’ narrative created an emotional politics of shared truths that helped produce large publics critical of the Bush Administration, yet they developed greater commonality through celebrity and amateur policy expertise rather than a political plan for ending the war.
Last week, I turned in an article on the Iraq War. There were some major sections that I cut – they didn’t fit and distracted from the main argument. They’re interesting enough to share, however, so here they are.
While the primary strategy was to oppose the Iraq War through speech, it is sight that has come to dominate how most people experience war. On a basic physiological level, the direct experience of violence – such as shooting bullets that rip into someone’s body and spilling their blood, or cleaning up someone’s splattered guts after the scene – will rountiely overload the mind and result in trauma. Direct experience is not common, however, as most people experience through visual technologies. The twenty-four hour news cycle feeds war to the people by playing stock footage featuring political officials giving press conferences, missiles sailing through the air, and military personnel on the move. The result is that the body gets trained to experience war as if every organ was an eye. War in such a media environment becomes structured by the characteristics of what Lacan calls “the scopic field.” Continue reading “Ephemera from Iraq War Article”
I just uploaded these lectures, which I listened to a couple years ago. They are perhaps the best introduction to the politics of Deleuze and Guattari but is also rewarding for more advanced scholars. I’m sorry for the quality – I tried to clean them up, but they’re not perfect. awc
Daniel W Smith discussed Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari’s works Anti-Oedipus & A Thousand Plateaus at the Collegium Phaenomenologicum 2009. Smith, a professor of philosophy at Purdue University, is a leading expert of Deleuze and Guattari’s work. In these lectures, he lucidly outlines the theories and implications of the most political sections of Deleuze and Guattari’s work while giving special attention to the primary source materials and philosophical arguments that the authors utilized to make their argument.
Day 1: Anti-Oedipus & Desire
In this talk, Smith discusses Deleuze and Guattari’s ambitious reworking of psychoanalysis, especially with their notions of desire and the unconscious.
Day 2: Anti-Oedipus & The Human (missing part 2)
On this day of talks, Smith describes the anthropology chapter of Anti-Oedipus. In the first lecture, Smith covers the Savage and Despotic formations. Unfortunately, the second lecture, in which Smith described the Capitalism formation, was not recorded.
Day 3: A Thousand Plateaus & Nomadology
On this day, Smith presents Deleuze and Guattari’s nomadology from A Thousand Plateaus, with an eye to their description of society without a state. The second lecture is dedicated to question & answer.
The reading materials for the lectures was
– Deleuze & Guattari, Anti-Oedipus, “Savages, Barbarians, Civilized Men,” 139 – 271 Continuum Version, 141 – 164 Minnesota Version.
– Deleuze & Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus, “1227: Treatise on Nomadology–The War Machine,” & “7000 B.C.: Apparatus of Capture,” 387 – 522 Continuum Version, 351- 473 Minnesota Version.
The original recordings picked up substantial feedback that punctuated the lecture with high-pitched pinging noises that made it nearly unlistenable. I tried to eliminate as much of the feedback as possible, but ended up thinning out Smith’s voice.
I have uploaded the originals as well, but would not suggest trying to listen to them.
The ‘political’ legacy of anarchism is hard to measure; even more so if the standards applied to anarchism come from lateral projects like state socialism or communism.
Anarchism comes from utopian socialism and often unknowingly continues politically paralyzing assumptions that are unnecessary to anarchism more generally. The two most common are: 1) a naive Rousseauian faith in the ‘goodness’ of human nature, which presumes that projects based on cooperation generate superior outcomes to those based in competition; and 2) a reactionary conservatism based in romantic attachment to pre-industrial ways of life. Continue reading “Rejoinder to a Toothless Critique”
- War is the violence used to establish sovereignty.
- Policing is the state violence used to preserve law.
- Securitization either exceeds or falls short of war and policing.
War is indissociable from sovereignty and conquest; it presides over the birth of nations. While there are ‘rules of war’, there isn’t a law-preserving quality to them. Rather, a functionalist definition of war is the violence used to found sovereignty. In the Middle Ages when sovereignty was based in divine right to rule, it functioned like a game of chess whereby the objective was to capture the king. The post-dynastic raison d’etre shifted, founding the state on more clearly delineated territorial boundaries where norms and political institutions were established to guarantee the well-being and security of the population. The cartographic fixity of national borders highlights the intense importance war’s spatiality. The divergence between theories of International Relations and domestic policy in political science demonstrates the sharp analytic boundary between inside and outside that lies at the center of modern nation-states.