Category Archives: Foucault

Stathis Gourgouris: “Preliminary Thoughts on Left Governmentality”

“In the manufactured politics of crisis that we see increasingly in many societies around the world, the question of what politics can overcome the impasse of so-called democratic rule, which serves as a cover for the domination of liberal oligarchies, has become urgent. Mining the most radical elements in Foucault’s thinking about governmentality, this essay seeks to imagine a politics of left governmentality that would evade the pitfalls of left populism.”

Éric Alliez & Maurizio Lazzarato: “Clausewitz and la pensée 68”

‘The new theory of war and power was not able to confront and draw on real political experiments, since between the end of the 1970s and the early 1980s, the radicalization that resulted from ’68 (“Rampant May”) faded, weakened, and finally collapsed in the repetition of the modalities of civil war codified by the revolutions of the first half of the century around the October Revolution of the Bolsheviks. After the failure of insurrection movements, the “Winter Years” began, and have yet to end.’

Colin Koopman: “The power thinker”

“With respect to the central concepts of political philosophy, namely the conceptual pair of power and freedom, Foucault’s bet was that people are likely to win more for freedom by declining to define in advance all the forms that freedom could possibly take. That means too refusing to latch on to static definitions of power. Only in following power everywhere that it operates does freedom have a good chance of flourishing. Only by analysing power in its multiplicity, as Foucault did, do we have a chance to mount a multiplicity of freedoms that would counter all the different ways in which power comes to define the limits of who we can be.”

Simona Forti: “Totalitarianism – Historical Regime or Bio-Power Intimate Vocation?”

‘In totalitarian regimes, power exerted itself over life not merely by suppressing it. It was not simply a question of an enormous, unprecedented, abuse of power that quelled the rights of the individuals. Political power succeeded in turning itself into both a total and capillary domination, by setting itself the as warrant of the security, the health, the prosperity and the life of the people, who required the elimination of a harmful and destructive “living part” in order to incarnate the ideal of a Hyper-Humanity.  In other words, totalitarian bio-politics has shown us what a political apparatus can achieve: in the name of security and public health, by appealing directly to the “productivity” of life, it is able to invade, with unparalleled intensity and capillarity, the existence of all, and entire existence.’

 

Éric Alliez and Maurizio Lazzarato on the “biopolitical governmentality of war”

“To our enemies”:  ’29.  In short, it is a question of drawing the lessons from what seems to us like the failure of the thought of ’68 which we have inherited, even in our inability to think and construct a collective war machine equal to the civil war unleashed in the name of neoliberalism and the absolute primacy of the economy as exclusive policy of capital. Everything is taking place as if ’68 was unable to think all the way, not its defeat …, but the warring order of reasons that broke its insistence through a continuous destruction, placed in the present infinitive of the struggles of “resistance.”

30. It is not a question, it is not at all a question of stopping resistance. It is a question of dropping a “theoricism” satisfied with a strategic discourse that is powerless in the face of what is happening. And what has happened to us. Because if the mechanisms of power are constitutive, to the detriment of strategic relationships and the wars taking place there, there can only be phenomena of “resistance” against them. With the success we all know. Graecia docet.’  This is the lesson of ‘the defeat of the Greek “radical left.”’