We share a text by Paul Beatriz Preciado, in translation, that was originally published in the french newspaper Liberation (26/09/2014): a critical reflection on feminism and more broadly on what Preciado calls “animalism” …
Feminism is not a humanism
During one of his “infinite interviews”, Hans-Ulrich Obrist asked me to pose an urgent question to which artists and political movements must answer together. I say: “How to live with animals? How to live with the dead?” Someone else asks: “And humanism? And feminism?” Ladies, gentlemen and others: once and for all, feminism is not a humanism. Feminism is an animalism. In other words, animalism is a dilated feminism and not an anthropocentrism.
The first machines of the industrial revolution were not the steam engine, the printing press or the guillotine … but the slave labourer of the plantation, the sexual and reproductive worker, and the animal. The first machines of the industrial revolution were living machines. Humanism then invented another body that it would call human: a sovereign, white, heterosexual, healthy, seminal body. A stratified body and full of organs, full of capital, the gestures of which are measured by time and of which the desires are the effects of a necropolitical technology of pleasure. Liberty, equality, fraternity: animalism unveils the colonial and patriarchal roots of the universal principles of european humanism. The regime of slavery, then salaried labour, appeared as the foundation of the freedom of modern “man”; expropriation and the segmentation of life and knowledge as the reverse of equality; war, competition and rivalry as operators of fraternity.
The Renaissance, the Enlightenment, the miracle of the industrial revolution therefore rest on the reduction of slaves and women to the status of animals and on the reduction of the three (slaves, women and animals) to that of (re)productive machines. If the animal was one day conceived of and treated as a machine, the machine became little by little a technoanimal living with technoliving animals. The machine and the animal (migrants, bodies, pharmacopornographics, children of the sheep Dolly, electronumerical brains) constitute themselves as the new political subjects of the animalism to come. The machine and the animal are quantic homonyms.
As the proliferation of technologies of death is all that the whole of humanist modernity knew of, animalism should invent a new way to live with the dead; with the planet as cadaver and phantom; to transform necropolitics into necroaesthetics. Animalism becomes then a funeral celebration; a celebration of mourning. Animalism is a funeral rite, birth; a solemn assembly of plants and flowers around the victims of the history of humanism. Animalism is a separation and an embracing. Queer indigenism, planetary pansexuality that transcends the species and the sexes, and technoshamanism, an interspecies system of communication, are the apparatuses of this mourning.
Animalism is not a naturalism. It is a complete ritual system; a counter-technology for the production of consciousness. It is the conversion to a form of life without sovereignty, without any hierarchy. Animalism institutes its own law, its own economy. Animalism is not a contractual moralism. It refutes the aesthetics of capitalism and its capture of desire by consumption (of goods, ideas, information, bodies). It rests neither on exchange nor on individual interest. Animalism is not the revenge of one clan against another. Animalism is not a heterosexualism, nor a homosexualism, nor a transsexualism. Animalism is neither modern nor postmodern. I can state, without joking, that animalism is not a hollandism. It is not a sarkoyzism or a bleumarinism. Animalism is not a patriotism, nor a matriotism. Animalism is not a nationalism, nor a europeanism. Animalism is not a capitalism, nor a communism. The economy of animalism is a wholly non-agonistic sharing of benefits; a photosynthetic cooperation, a molecular pleasure. Animalism is the wind that blows. It is the way in which the spirit of the forest of atoms still has a hold on the thieves. Humans, the masked incarnations of the forest, should unmask themselves of the human and mask themselves again with the knowledge of the bees.
The change that is necessary is so profound that it will be said to be impossible. So profound that it will be said to be unimaginable. But the impossible is to come. And the imaginary is due. What was the most impossible and the most unimaginable, slavery or the end of slavery? The time of animalism is that of the impossible and the unimaginable. This is our time: the only one that remains.
The Obrist interview, in french …