May Day

May Day was celebrated around the world … a day of memory, but also of struggle.  But recurrent throughout all of the news and images of the day was the overwhelming presence and violence of the police, and the promise of violence by politicians to all of those who would defy the present order.  Outside of the modern state there is chaos, we are told.  The normative ideal then is that nothing should happen.  Outside of the state however there is not disorder, but a “multiplicity of orders“.  (Tiqqun, Contributions à la guerre en cours).

Towards the end of his life, Walter Benjamin would write,

The tradition of the oppressed teaches us that the “state of emergency” in which we live is not the exception but the rule.  We must attain to a conception of history that is in keeping with this insight.  Then we shall clearly realize that it is our task to bring about a real state of emergency.  (Theses on the Philosophy of History)

Politics must be thought through the lens of war, civil war, understood not as a confrontation between states, sovereign subjectivities, with the prize of battle being a novel sovereignty, but between forms of life.  As an ethical opposition, in which the state appears as a hostile milieu rather than as a centre of power, revolution or insurrection is the pursuit of a form of life to its very end …

… the only substantial freedom is to follow the line of expansion of power of a form-of-life to the very end, untill the point where it vanishes, liberating in us a power superior to that of being affected by other forms-of-life. (Tiqqun, Contributions à la guerre en cours).

Images of May Day …

Occupy May Day …

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