Multitudes 35 : Winter 2009

Multitudes : Winter

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Jean-Claude Paye

De Guantanamo à Tarnac : un renversement de l’ordre de droit

The way the nine Tarnac proponents of a self-supporting life were arrested and charged testifies not only to a disruption in the order of the law but also to a deeper mutation, in the symbolic order of society. The procedures that were implemented represent one of the most telling aspects in the new trend that has developed with the « war on terror », namely a person is defined as a terrorist not because he or she committed any specific crime, but because he or she is given that name by the Home office. The reason why these young people are called terrorists is the way they live, the fact they try to escape the economic machine and do not proactively submit to control procedures. The discourse of power becomes the one and only possible referent. Facts are kept out of the social field and out of th espace of what is thinkable. As a consequence, this image imprisons us in a psychotic structure.


Giuseppe Cocco

Anthropophagies, racisme et actions affirmatives

Oswald de Andrade’s « Cannnibal Manifesto » (1950) was anticipative in its apprehension of the Brazilian dynamic as it emerged from its European colonial heritage projecting itself towards the future. As Brasil entered modernity, what Oswald observed was « a country of the future », not from the perspective of the dynamic of a construction of a national trajectory of development, but from the perspective of the development of the indigenous Brazilian relation to colonial alterity. The anthropophagic revolution, as it projected the Indians into the world, rested on a theory of multiplicity and not of « diversity ». Anti-colonialism was not a form of nationalism, but a war machine which served to take what we wanted in the rich Europe.


Collectif Situaciones

Le retour du politique ?

The most surprising aspect of the recent conflict in Argentina resides, in our opinion, in a certain phase difference – which is difficult to consider – between the agitation of passions and reason which accompanied the battle of interests and sensibilities and a feeling of political inconsistency, the feeling of not being able to find an « adequation » with the dynamic of social convulsion. This sensation leads us to ask ourselves questions on the « return of politics » signalled by a series of analyses and positions relative to the dynamic of these last months.


César Altamira

Mouvements latino-américains : entre puissance constituante et nouveau « welfare »

The opposition between the piqueteros and the government has shifted the battleground between capital and work. If in the past, confrontation focused on salary, today the growing precariousness of work has transformed the struggle of the piqueteros and the unemployed into a fight for survival. As a result of this, their objectives are the same as those of immaterial workers : autonomous and independent and exploited by capital through the network of productive cooperation which they have established among themselves.


Íñigo Errejón Galván

Une victoire difficile. De l’effondrement du pouvoir néolibéral aux difficultés de l’hégémonie indigène et populaire en Bolivie

The transformations undergone by the class structure associated with neoliberalism in Bolivia could be, paradoxically, the conditions for the possibility of an emergence of more plural and pluricultural propositions. The exhaustion of perpetually unsatisfied promises of eurocentric modernity, the alteration of traditional hierarchies at different geographical levels (local, region, state, international) engendered by the forms in which globalisation manifests itself in the peripheries, and the – voluntary and planned – return to a state sovereignty which was never more than a creole-urban aspiration, have broken traditional certainties: imaginable futures, classic forms of organisation, subjects of change and their identities, geographical and racial classifications.


Oscar Vega Camacho

Penser l’Amérique du Sud

The south american project would be neither intelligible nor possible if it were simply a case of a change of route or of a consciousness of the existing nation states. Rather, it is first necessary to look at it taking as a starting point the crises which are affecting the political system and the existing state forms. We must observe the manner in which the struggles and conquests of social and indigenous movements allow the possibility to transform the political composition at the heart of each country and simultaneously, challenge the existing composition and role of the state.


Anibal Quijano

Le contexte général en Amérique latine : la revanche des Indiens ? Réponse aux questions de Yann Moulier Boutang

The processes which are currently unfolding in Latin America are a specific expression of the processes or tendencies which are occuring across the entire « globalised world ». This world is a new configuration in sociological terms, produced by the tendencies which push for a change of « boss » – of colonial/modern/eurocentric power since the mid 1970s, even if some of these tendencies had been in operation at least a decade beforehand. In short, we are plunged into a crisis of transition from the global colonialism from which today we cannot see an exit, but which moves towards a new configuration of global power or towards a global revolution.


Juliane Rebentisch

Sept négations

When I recently read a little aesthetic manifesto by Alain Badiou (« Troisième esquisse d’un manifeste de l’affirmationnisme », in Circonstances 2. Irak, foulard, Allemagne/France, Paris, Lignes & Manifeste, 2004), who is getting a lot of recognition in the intellectual scene in Berlin at the moment, I found myself disagreeing with nearly every single point that Badiou makes there – but it inspired me to present what I want to say today as a response to this piece, and in the form of a counter-manifesto, if you will. Not only because it is generally more fun to articulate the theses one might have on « Aesthetics and Contemporary Art » in a way that sounds a little apodictic and macho, but also because it is challenging to try and do this with theses that counter precisely the smart claims to universalism, truth, abstraction that have become so fashionable again today, especially, and not surprisingly, it seems to me, among young male intellectuals.


Harry Halpin

La souveraineté numérique. L’aristocratie immatérielle du World Wide Web

Built upon the foundations of the Internet, the World Wide Web has been the most significant technological development within recent history, sparking a reformulation of both capitalism and resistance. The Web is defined as a « universal information space » by its inventor Tim Berners-Lee of the W3C, reflecting the universal scope of politics and struggle today. Yet while its effects have been scrutinized, the Web itself has received little inquiry. The composition of the governing networks that control the infrastructure of the Web have only recently been engaged with by activists with the ICANN affair and WSIS protests. The Web is governed by a network that is composed of an « immaterial aristocracy » of radical democratic « hackers », corporations such as Google and Microsoft, and non-governmental organizations such as the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). These networks continually negotiate between the needs of global capitalism and the desires of immaterial labour on the Web.


Marc Bernardot

Une tempête sous un CRA. Violences et protestations dans les centres de rétention administrative français en 2008

The riots by detainees in French administrative detention centers, which have over the past years remained classified, attracted media attention on the occasion of the fire at the Vincennes center in June, 2008. They bear witness at once to both the consequences of the growing repression against illegalized foreigners and the weak means of defense and exterior support available to detainees. In effect, these foreigners are the victims of an institutional violence exacerbated by techniques of arrest, the management of centers, and finally expulsion. This brutalization, defended by public authorities, contaminates relations to the foreigner, particularly in the world of labor, and translates into a pressure on public agents for the detection and denunciation of the « undocumented ». In the face of this repression, the detainees, who contest the legitimacy of such treatment, have no other choice but self-mutilization, suicide or, when they achieve unity, collective hunger strikes in order to oppose their deportation. Their associative and defensive supports are increasingly criminalized. Yet they still represent an avant-garde in the defence of individual and public freedoms against the encroachments made by the culture of control and deregulation. The police battle against illegal aliens is nothing but a Trojan Horse in a war against the minorities of the South and civil society as a whole.


Kantuta Quirós et Aliocha Imhoff

Art/Cinéma/Queer. Cartographie d’un art politique contemporain

Queer cinema takes shape between experimental film, the intimate diary form, art video, documentary, dream fiction, recording and militant video-tracts. In the introductory article, we address several dimensions of this creation: one reflects a practice in queer art according to localized experience, as in the films of Hervé Guibert, David Wojnarowicz, and Raphaël Vincent or the photographic work of Del LaGrace Volcano, based on the experience of AIDS or trans-identities. Another dimension is the attempt to constitute a sexual cinema, with Hans Scheirl or Maria Beatty: these are explorations of an exploded, « de-gendered » body, which directly connects moving images to chemical and bodily transformations, inner mental sensations, jouissance and deterritorialized sexual practices. Lastly, we discuss in more general terms the emergence of a queer cinema which serves as a site for the elaboration of a counter-cinema, a withdrawal from cinema which casts a hegemonic gaze on subaltern political subjects. The documentary genre is then hollowed out from within by this decolonizing gesture.


Kantuta Quirós et Aliocha Imhoff

Descolonizando el cuerpo. Vidéoperformance féministe, queer et postcoloniale latino-américaine

This article takes a renewed look at Chicana political performance and urban intervention art in Latin America. Art-in-action has been a particularly fertile tradition in Latin America ever since the sixties, and more recently it has inspired a large number of performing artists working within a feminist and/or queer perspective. Here we would like to introduce the work of Chicano artist Guillermo Gómez-Peña and his band of performers, « La Pocha Nostra », and also that of the Bolivian collective « Mujeres Creando », both pairing exposure of gender oppression to a post-colonial perspective and to the themes of territory, frontier, and identitary loyalty and dissidence. Their visual video-permormance work springs from the captations documenting their actions and performances, and also from video objects in the domain of the poetic field, or in that of hybridation of fiction and documentary reality. They take shape in the particular context of the American continent, which is one of imperial dominance, migratory situations, and skin-colour based stratifications, but also of processes of sovereignty and autonomy-creation by indigenous people, of democratic changes and revolutionary movements, and of cultural experiences and experiments of the border and of a being-creole.