Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Foucault to Deleuze on Power and Exploitation

FOUCAULT: Isn't this difficulty of finding adequate forms of struggle a result of the fact that we continue to ignore the problem of power? After all, we had to wait until the nineteenth century before we began to understand the nature of exploitation, and to this day, we have yet to fully comprehend the nature of power. It may be that Marx and Freud cannot satisfy our desire for understanding this enigmatic thing which we call power, which is at once visible and invisible, present and hidden, ubiquitous. Theories of government and the traditional analyses of their mechanisms certainly don't exhaust the field where power is exercised and where it functions. The question of power re- mains a total enigma. Who exercises power? And in what sphere? We now know with reasonable certainty who exploits others, who receives the profits, which people are involved, and we know how these funds are reinvested. But as for power . . . We know that it is not in the hands of those who govern. But, of course, the idea of the "ruling class" has never received an adequate formulation, and neither have other terms, such as "to dominate ... .. to rule ... .. to govern," etc. These notions are far too fluid and require analysis. We should also investigate the limits imposed on the exercise of power-the relays through which it operates and the extent of its influence on the often insignificant aspects of the hierarchy and the forms of control, surveillance, prohibition, and constraint. Everywhere that power exists, it is being exercised. No one, strictly speaking, has an official right to power; and yet it is always excited in a particular direction, with some people on one side and some on the other. It is often difficult to say who holds power in a precise sense, but it is easy to see who lacks power. If the reading of your books (from Nietzsche to what I anticipate in Capitalism and Schisophrenia (8) has been essential for me, it is because they seem to go very far in exploring this problem: under the ancient theme of meaning, of the signifier and the signified, etc., you have developed the question of power, of the inequality of powers and their struggles. Each struggle develops around a particular source of power (any of the countless, tiny sources- a small-time boss, the manager of "H.L.M.,"' a prison warden, a judge, a union representative, the editor-in-chief of a newspaper). And if pointing out these sources-denouncing and speaking out-is to be a part of the struggle, it is not because they were previously unknown. Rather, it is because to speak on this subject, to force the institutionalised networks of information to listen, to produce names, to point the finger of accusation, to find targets, is the first step in the reversal of power and the initiation of new struggles against existing forms of power. if the discourse of inmates or prison doctors constitutes a form of struggle, it is because they confiscate, at least temporarily, the power to speak on prison conditions-at present, the exclusive property of prison administrators and their cronies in reform groups. The discourse of struggle is not opposed to the unconscious, but to the secretive. It may not seem like much; but what if it turned out to be more than we expected? A whole series of misunderstandings relates to things that are "bidden," "repressed," and "unsaid"; and they permit the cheap "psychoanalysis" of the proper objects of struggle. It is perhaps more difficult to unearth a secret than the unconscious. The two themes frequently encountered in the recent past, that "writing gives rise to repressed elements" and that "writing is necessarily a subversive activity," seem to betray a number of operations that deserve to be severely denounced.


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

You Think We are Not Tall Enough to See

We who are multiples create a theorem of expression, a soft articulation of voices. We claim space(s) and surround our intentions with the brisk flattery of political agitation. We rub against skin and taint the status quo. We wish to inform that yours is not the way. Instead, signs point to every direction. Softness multiplies. We calculate and create in bold colors, using a thesaurus of words, dictionary of language as power.

You who shatter into discord and genital conflagration, you have embodied a misconception. You who blaspheme and blather spit nonsense out of your ass. Or was it only love, as you say, a passion of value and concern. Noted. And in turn I tell you, take your signs and helpful pamphlets and shove them in your ears so you can’t hear what we say next, for your own safety and moral boundaries. You will be (a)shamed.

We who throw sticks, eat stones, and feel like walls cluttered with roses, painted, peeling, the repetition of waving and loss. We eat our stones regardless of your nonsense and beliefs. We have beliefs which involve choosing and respect. Choosing how one conducts oneself. We are not asking for your advice or assistance. Stay out of my fucking choice. Stay out of our minority status as your excuse for disheveled corruption, blatant violence.

What we mean is that wealth accumulates like limbs, slick and slippery. We believe in the erosion of the monotonous, that is to say, history as it repeats in ignorance. We read history. We use new words to write history and present. We believe in Frederick Douglass, starting with the letter “a” working toward “z” and using the word intellect, the word embolden, the many words for empowered. We are multiplied by too many fingers to count.

This is to say that meaning resides at the edge of the city. On the edges which is really the main event. The majority of everything. The world’s population. The biggest percent. The biggest loser(s). Some of us still have more to lose. All of us want to give some of it back. We are done giving it to you. We accumulate, we brush and stroke this emergency of correspondence, we ride this tidal wave of concrete sentiment. Head out.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

dear Finn,

I am so sad to hear your story. Well I don't know much about the story except that you had an addiction problem, you went to rehab, you came out of rehab, and you overdosed and died. Some kind of heroin and alcohol toxic mixing. Were you with Brittany on that night? Sorry that is not funny. I guess you are not Finn now that you are dead. Maybe things are more clear, beyond the addiction. We wonder why someone with everything overdoses and dies. You were 31 and got to play a teenager on TV. At the best fantasy high school one could imagine where football players can also sing and dance and have endless support and where the Spanish and singing teacher is willing to fight with the nutcase athletic director who hates singing, expression, and anything artistic. But football players have inner music too. Hit you over the head with messages about gender bending, teaching us how ignorant homophobia is, make us feel like we were not the only awkward weirdo kids in high school but even the popular athletes and cheerleaders are total weirdos too. Oh, heavy on the messages and over the top musical scenes. But the point is some people seem to have it all (fame success) and still are haunted by demons or something, have to rely on ways to get by (Janice, Jimmy). Or some have way too much going on like playing dark and disturbing roles in movies that keep them from sleeping that cause other medical issues that result in prescriptions to fix the multiple problems that might be fixed instead with a vacation but instead the delirious joker takes too many of the wrong combination of pills at the wrong moment and he is dead too. But you didn't have the pressure on like Jimmy or Janice in an intense musical industry not always friendly to black folks and women in the 60s and 70s. Your character on TV was the opposite of Ledger's Joker, both of whom spiraled into depths of disorientation from which there was no coming back. You, a grown up adult, got to play the heartthrob football player star singer who was always the favorite because of his genuine kindness and seeming disregard for the fame and attitude of revered high school athletes. Your character queered the high school experience for viewers everywhere breaking through stereotypes about boys and sports and art and even religion (dating the Jewish girl with 2 dads). You got to do high school again in the best way: playing football and singing like a Broadway star both on stage and in the intimate and supportive group therapy sessions that were the after-school glee club meetings. Maybe the disparity between this fictional high school do-over and your real life situations was too great. Though no one can say why some people can overcome addiction and some cannot. Well maybe there are some experts who can say more about that. The point is like Forest Whitaker playing Charlie Parker or Bette Midler playing a Janice-like character we find out there is no particular way the habits work. Whatever the initial tendency, eventually the outer context and the inner need turn in to a cycle that takes on a life of its own. And just because you want to stop doesn't mean you can. When did your addiction begin and why couldn't you stop it before it was too late? That's not a real question. Why do these things happen is another question. Were Jimmy and Janice and Heath and Charlie amazing and did they die too soon too young what a loss? Yes, and so did many amazing talented people who never got famous. You were great on Glee and like some regular high school kids you died too young. Would there were more we could do.

Monday, July 15, 2013


you remain loudly in every silence. a rhythm a knock a single tone under the slippery layer of awareness. you are me and not me, an edging an anxiety a brittle fabric a thin covering of confidence. I am this and something else merge and sway layers of distraction and engagement. a turning or twist, focus and disband, the ringing intones the caution of cares to the wind. your subtle straightforwardness sometimes lost in the haze of continuous present tenses. your verging articulation imprecise in pastel shades. there is no contradiction but the abstract smearing of color shades of individual and collective chronic movement of detail synthesis reflection. and in the eyes leaning elsewhere muted reverberations mingle and rationally, a quick second sigh.