The pacifying state (cont.): the sovereignty of the police

The transformation of political issues into security matters makes explicit the relationship, if not the identity, of sovereignty and the exercise of police power.  The “police – contrary to public opinion – are not merely an administrative function of law enforcement; rather, the police are perhaps the place where the proximity and the almost constitutive exchange between violence and right that characterizes the figure of the sovereign is shown more nakedly and clearly than anywhere else”. (Giorgio Agamben, Means Without End, 103)  The adversary then of political power, of a particular political regime, is then criminalized, along with all protest.

And so the Spanish government endeavours to render criminal all that is associated with the politics of 15M.  The liberticidal proposed law, the Law of Citizen Security, has been approved in the council of ministers, the final step before a parliamentary vote. (Periódico Diagonal  29/11/2013)  And in the meantime, the citizens continue to be controlled, fined, arrested, beaten … all for their security.

(Protest against the law, Madrid, 28/11/2013):

And yet what fragility reveals itself here; not only that of fear, but also that which exposes those who exercise power as the criminals.  Sovereignty is unmasked, the king goes about naked, and all that remains is for all too see as the child sees.

“What the heads of state, who rushed to criminalise the enemy with such zeal, have not yet realised is that this criminalisation can at any moment be turned against them.  There is no head of state on Earth today who, in this sense, is not virtually a criminal.  Today, those who should happen to wear the sad redingote of sovereignty know that they may be treated as criminals one day by their colleagues.  And certainly we will not be the ones to pity them.  The sovereign who willingly agreed to present themselves as cops or executioners, in fact, now show in the end their original proximity to the criminal. (Giorgio Agamben, Means Without End, 106)       

This entry was posted in Commentary, News blog and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.