Category Archives: Butler

Judith Butler interviewed on “Acting in Concert”

On the conditions and purposes of political action:  “For me, the crowds that matter are those that seek to assert the accountability of the state to the people it claims to represent, and to activate that popular dimension of democratic politics that has the power to legitimate or delegitimate a regime that seeks to lay claim to authoritarian control.”

Jonas Staal: “Assemblism”

The power of artists in assemblism:  “As artists, we are not in power, but through morphology we give power: we give form to power. The practice of assemblism that we can derive from [Judith Butler’s Notes Towards a Performative Theory of Assembly] opens up the possibility of a new collectivity arising from the precariat—a new Us with the potential to shatter the Us/Them divide that has brought the new authoritarian world order into being. Embedding our artistic practice within social movements, we can help formulate the new campaigns, the new symbols, and the popular poetry needed to bolster the emergence of a radical collective imaginary. In that process, we can also begin to devise the new infrastructures—the parallel parliaments, the stateless embassies, the transdemocratic unions—needed to establish the institutions that will make a new emancipatory governance a reality.  Our time as assemblists is now.”

Judith Butler on the extraparliamentary power of assemblies

Reflections on Trump“:  “So many of the public demonstrations against austerity and precarity present bodies in the street and within public view who are themselves suffering from displacement and disenfranchisement. They also assert political agency in common by gathering as they do. … Although demonstrations and assemblies are often not enough to produce radical change, they do alter our perceptions about who the people are, and they assert fundamental freedoms that belong to bodies in their plurality.”