Thursday, March 11, 2010

which terror trumps?


State terror: terminal powers of enforcement.

Auschwitz: objective demonstration of a new state power, administrative-industrial genocide.

Hiroshima: objective demonstration of another new state power, the Weapon of Mass Destruction that self-justifies the merger of science and war machine.

Political necessity of the new regime of exception: an absolute enemy, someone, somewhere, preferably a dark bearded face, an imago to be targeted with trembling and enjoyment, the terminating focus of all displacements in the politics of fear.

This is how the capitalist process reproduces and enforces its own conditions today. And new techno-powers now emerging may also prove qualitative: killer drones and terminator robotics combining with god’s eye satellite and internet surveillance.

Through the chains of mediation – administration, integration, culture industry, spectacle, biopower, “war on terror” – state terror points back to the valorization-accumulation process driving our commodity world, the master logic of capitalist modernity.

But now a new factor points more immediately to the same master logic: collapsing ecologies, degradation and depletion, species extinction and climate change.

In the form of looming planetary meltdown, the capital accumulation process itself becomes directly genocidal.

The more the economies grow, the warmer it gets perforce, sentencing more to misery and death, bringing us all closer to critical tipping point. But in a capitalist world, economies that don’t grow also mean unemployment, misery and death: neo-imperialist war machine.

The alternative to this viciously self-terminating “progress”: global reorganization, collective passage to non-domination, a sustainable social logic.

Formerly, in Marxist vision, this passage was the leap to freedom. Today, the urgency with which it begins to bear down makes it appear rather on the side of constraint: the rational self-constraint now demanded by the same instinct for self-preservation that long ago reversed into its irrational opposite.

Benjamin: revolution as the emergency brake on a runaway train.

The actual problem we face: how to organize the reorganization in a non-catastrophic way.

Eros, the liberation of nature, passes through the passage to classless society, but does not end there.

Ecological meltdown begins by impacting us differently but must end by imposing humanity on us indifferently. Could this constraining imperative then bypass the class struggle, realizing its aims more directly?

Maybe, but not likely, so long as the entrenched regime of class relations retrenches and enforces, as it now is doing.

Which terror trumps? Monstrous question for politicized erotics.

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