At the time of my posting this, students are being forcibly removed and dragged from the occupied lecture hall of Nottingham University, and yesterday's BBC article cites a growing fear of the left in France (but "striking is like a pastime for the French"...). This 'growing fear of the left' has been pinned specifically to a threat of insurrection that extends beyond France's borders and would cut across into all of Europe, apparently:
A spokesman for the interior ministry, Gerard Gachet, told the BBC that the threat was real.
"The term 'ultra-left' was used by the interior minister to set this group apart from the extreme left who turn up for elections and keep within the parameters of democratic debate," he says.
But talking of more radical groups, he points to recent pamphlets and books published anonymously, but sometimes with a circulation of about 20,000, with titles such as How to Start a Civil War and The Insurrection That is Coming.
"They say that the fires of revolt will spread everywhere," he says, "and we see acts like damage to bank branches or state buildings and claims of solidarity with the Greek rioters.
While I would not be in the business of overtly linking L'Inssurection to Tiqqun pamphlets - as Alberto Toscano has done an excellent job in discrediting such assumptions, pointing to significant stylistic differences while also illustrating the merits and shortcomings of these books and texts - it is still no doubt apparent that this BBC article is in fact referring to, in its selection of poorly translated titles, such Tiqqun authored works as this particular piece and of others like "Organe conscient du Parti Imaginaire" and "Exercice de metaphysique critique"[pdf]. Works, it might be added, that were anonymously penned and so daringly distributed.
Collective living? The sharing of ideas and critique? Alternative modes of existence and experimentation with everyday life? It hardly takes much for one to fail seeing a problem with such things - a failure inevitably attributable for them to delinquency, terroristic impulses, perhaps even abnormality... In other words: not only should we quickly calm ourselves down so as to be model public opinion circulation experts who are well-behaved, acceptable and passive agents, it is also advisable to not think at all of solidarity or of alternatives to capitalism, and perhaps simply and most significantly: do not think.
- image via Claire Fontaine
The state of the spectacle, after all, is still a state that bases itself (as Badiou has shown every state to base itself) not on social bonds, of which it purportedly is the expression, but rather on their dissolution, which it forbids. In the final analysis, the state can recognize any claim for identity - even that of a state identity within itself (and in our time, the history of the relation between the state and terrorism is an eloquent confirmation of this fact). But what the state cannot tolerate in any way is that singularities form a community without claiming an identity, that human beings co-belong without a representable condition of belonging (being Italian, working-class, Catholic, terrorist, etc.). And yet, the state of the spectacle - inasmuch as it empties and nullifies every real identity, and substitutes the public and public opinion for the people and the general will - is precisely what produces massively from within itself singularities that are no longer characterized either by any social identity or by any real condition of belonging: singularities that are truly whatever singularities.
The threat the state is not willing to come to terms with is precisely the fact that the unrepresentable should exist and form a community without either presuppositions or conditions of belonging (just like Cantor's inconsistent multiplicity). The whatever singularity - this singularity that wants to take possession of belonging itself as well as of its own being-into-language, and that thus declines any identity and any condition of belonging - is the new, nonsubjective, and socially inconsistent protagonist of the coming politics. Wherever these singularities peacefully manifest their being-in-common, there will be another Tiananmen and, sooner or later, the tanks will appear again.
- Giorgio Agamben, from "Marginal Notes on Commentaries on the Society of the Spectacle", in Means Without End