Academic journal article Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy

"Can Politics Be Thought in Interiority?" (Translation)

Academic journal article Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy

"Can Politics Be Thought in Interiority?" (Translation)

Article excerpt


I will make use of three categories: interiority, subjectivity, intellectuality. These categories, which have different assignments, find their consistency and their efficacy under the jurisdiction of the same, single principle: people think.

People Think

People think is my founding statement. First, we state what it is not. It is not a normative statement, a normative conception of people's thought. Such a conception was present in the party form, where the party had the monopoly on thought. It also is no longer the Leninist statement that I examined in "Working Notes on Post-Leninism," according to which consciousness is consciousness of. I emphasized that, in Lenin's work, the theory of consciousness presented the possibility of an arrival of the subjective as such, but that this consciousness, being consciousness of (antagonism), that is to say, consciousness of the State, was also a consciousness of object. Consciousness of antagonism as condition of the party, this major invention placed the form of organization (for Lenin, the party) under the thumb of a politico-statist logic which limits people's capacity. By advancing the principle people think, I set aside this conception of political consciousness. What's more, we are no longer within the problematic of the construction of a party. The conception of politics which rejects the one given in terms of party and State (that is to say, giving itself the State for object) will be called politics in interiority.

People think is worthy of everyone. Otherwise, one returns to the Leninist conception of politics, divided into spontaneous consciousness (of the unorganized people) and antagonistic consciousness (of the organized people), which takes us back to a (Marxist) dualism of the variety: ideology/science.

People think: whether in the framework of a politics at a distance from the State (politics in interiority), or in the framework of a politics in the space of the State (politics in exteriority). In order to make it possible to have politics when people adhere to parliamentarianism, to syndicalism, it is necessary to admit that people who vote, who are syndicalized, also think. The principle people think legitimizes a politics in interiority, far from the State, but just as well its opposite, a politics in exteriority. In both cases, there is a thought and a politics.

However, in distinguishing between a politics in interiority and a politics in exteriority, am I not on the path to renewing politics' former division: the bourgeois version, the proletarian version? Absolutely not. In my conception of politics in interiority, it is a question of constructing a politics starting from a process that establishes politics in its own dynamic, and not simply by the work of antagonism. When there exists a space in interiority, it develops itself starting from itself and not starting from a "versus." This development, starting from itself, is what one could call a "singularity." The battles, the qualification of adversaries, are in interiority and not issues of a division of the real into friends and enemies.

In interiority/in exteriority: thus, not a division between between spontaneous and conscious, and especially not--regarding politics in interiority--a consciousness of object in the old sense, in the Leninist form of consciousness of antagonism to the State (particularly as antagonism today finds itself in a critical phase of quasi-disappearance). The processes of forms of consciousness, processes of subjectivation, of the political, are of two orders: in exteriority and in interiority--this is a consequence of the thesis people think.

This assumes that politics is, in a primary sense, of the order of thought and not of the order of "objective realities," of the objective reality of contradictions, of which the State is the paradigmatic product. Thought is thus not thought of an object, it comes under the jurisdiction of a subjectivation, but for all that it is not without assignment nor precision. …

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