Fred Moten: Thinking with Palestine

Photograph: Hatem Ali/AP

Angela Davis recently described “Palestine as a moral litmus test for the world”. (Al Jazeera English-Up Front, 27/10/2023) And however much we may sympathise with the statement, it also begs reflection, for what is the test evaluating precisely? What morality is under scrutiny and what is the “proper” moral position to assume?

Such questions may seem academic at the moment – even obscene for some -, but without them, and others, our moral reactions risk being just that: reactive.

In an equally recent interview, the poet-essayist-philosopher Fred Moten, takes us some way beyond unthinking accusation and condemnation, as we endeavour to think and re-think, and to act, with justice.

For those unfamiliar with Moten’s work, and, in a way, to help clarify and situate the video interview, we also share below selections from an interview given by him for the Kunstkritikk/Nordic Art Review of Norway.

And for an older intervention by Moten, in defence of a boycott of Israeli academic and cultural institutions, we also share a video recording of a lecture given at the American Studies Association Meeting, November 7, 2009, along with a parallel, revised text on the same theme.

Inhabiting the Crossroads

Interview by Deise Faria Nunes, Kunstkritikk/Nordic Art Review, 13/10/23

One of several things you point to in your work is the object-subject relation, that includes ideas like the resistance of the object and the connection you see between subjectivity and subjection. Could you elaborate on that?

The first thing I would say is that we all have lived through the experience of being objectified. And it’s a complex experience. It’s full of all of these interesting possibilities. But in general, the experience of being an object is an experience of oppression. And so, historically, the discourse that seeks to align itself with the fight against oppression has assumed that the proper way to do that is to claim subjecthood, to claim what people sometimes refer to as personhood or agency. But I think that the tradition of black critical thought – and especially the most powerful and animating strain of black radical thought, which has always, I think, been black feminist thought – is much more critical of this notion of achieving or finding or claiming subjectivity.

This totally justifiable reactive formation to claim subjectivity is one that we need to not only think critically of, but that we need to try to abolish. It’s a difficult task because it implies a fundamental reorientation. Everything that we think and how we think now has to be challenged and transformed. That’s always a painful thing, but the most painful thing is that even the ways that we have come to both know and to memorialise our losses have to be questioned. It’s totally unfair, right? We shouldn’t have to do that. It shouldn’t be our responsibility, but it is. So that’s pretty much what I’m trying to do: my part in that work.

What you bring sounds post-humanist, while in most contexts we are still claiming humanity. There is a sort of tension in the fact that the community demands representation and your thought is going in a different direction. How do you position yourself in these terms?

I generally am wary of the prefix “post.” I don’t know if anything can ever adequately claim or embody that sense of being “after.” But the one thing that I probably feel the best about, is post-humanism. I do think that is a fundamental part of the work. It has got two elements to it; in the sense that we have to confront two things.

One is, again, the way in which we have come to understand our oppression is that it takes the form of a denial of our humanity. However, human beings are the agents of that denial, which ought to give us pause about claiming the status of the human. Because if humans can be slave traders, if humans can destroy the environment, if humans can do all the bad things that humans do, then maybe we ought not jump so quickly, right? Humans do some interesting things too, no doubt, but it is very unclear if the good stuff outweighs the bad. And what it has produced is a situation that we now live in, in which humans are not only destroying as many other species as they possibly can, but human beings are also very quickly destroying the capacity of our own species to survive.

Then we also have to confront the fact that the very idea of species is itself a human invention. From our framework, it appears to have some intellectual justification, but of course, in every other modality of thought, that would not be a sufficient way to actually assess its value. In other words, if something is only true from one perspective, we generally say, well, that’s kind of suspect. I don’t think that lions and tigers have an idea of species. It’s not to say that lions and tigers are all good.

We cannot actually go to nature looking for the ethics that humankind created and developed.

There’s a differential. You know, there is a common set of differences that we might be said to share, but it’s unclear that that common set of differences justifies the thought that we are therefore separate from other entities on Earth. Another extraordinary black feminist thinker from Brazil, Denise Ferreira da Silva, would say that we ought to be able to have a notion of difference that doesn’t devolve into separability.

So, I believe that this, again, justifiable reactive gesture to claim humanness is problematic because of the history of the bad things that humans have done. One of the most important things that Saidiya Hartman’s work shows is that it’s probably the case that, in most instances, the specific degradations that were visited upon black people throughout the Americas – from Canada to Argentina – were not imposed because the masters didn’t think that we were human, but because they knew that we were. They did things to black people that they wouldn’t do to dogs and horses. And they wanted things, right? They desired things from black people that they did not desire from dogs and cats.

On both of these scores, the reactive sort of gesture to claim or to reclaim the human is one that at least should require deep, deep investigation. That doesn’t mean that I feel like I’m always in some pitched battle with people who imagine that they can claim the human or that they are interested in a revision of the human. There are very smart people whose work has been important to me, who, in our tradition, constantly make this claim: Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth, Paul Gilroy, Sylvia Wynter. I’m not saying this to dismiss what they say, but I feel like it’s an actual extension of the investigation that they have also been part of. It is a pretty sharp difference, and it has to be worked through, but we still share this tradition. That would be the reason why there is a moment in which I want to say, “yes, it is a post-humanist thing.” But to the extent that I would maintain this affiliation, I hope, with Wynter or even with Gilroy, I would be wary of the term “post” because I don’t want to be in some situation or in some vein of thought that’s after Wynter. I want to be with Wynter, not after Wynter.

Speaking about prefixes, you have used “para-” [beside, alongside of, beyond, aside from] quite much. Reading and listening to some of your work, one gets the impression that you are repeatedly choosing to be in philosophical, philological and artistic crossroads. In the Afro-Brazilian rituals of the Candomblé, one of the most powerful energies is connected to the crossroads – both literally and metaphorically – I believe those are wonderful places to find oneself at, but sometimes the most difficult too. You have in different contexts spoken about the paraliterary and the paraontological. Then you tell that anecdote about your French friend who with her accent makes the words ontological and anthological sound almost alike, which again creates another path for reflections. Could you develop on these uses of the prefix “para-” as there are many ways that one can go from there?

Well, on a more abstract level, there is just this feeling of the necessity for abiding with contradictions, paradoxes, and that these are things which are not to be resolved. But as my teacher, mentor, and model Cedric Robinson would say, these contradictions and paradoxes are to be heightened and deepened. Some of that is just because growing up in the house I did – with the people that I was with, the art and the thinking that they were involved in, that they were interested in – we were constantly confronted with these paradoxes, and they were understood to be sources of pleasure and energy. I think that prepared me to school, to learn about other traditions.

One of the poets that I love the most is this English Renaissance poet named John Donne, who is extraordinarily interested in paradox. His poetics is just replete with all these paradoxes. It became a kind of critical paradigm that I wanted, that I was always drawn to. Then I had the fortune of finding that again in a more formally enacted and analysed way, in the work of a couple of great, great, great black thinkers who I was drawn to years ago. The first is Samuel R. Delany, a speculative fiction writer who was the person who introduced me to the term paraliterary as a way of describing science fiction, and as a way of valuing certain kinds of literary modes which were deviant, which deviated from norms of so-called realism. Those in fact turned out to be norms that are very much tied to that subject-object opposition, to the ways of thinking, of being in the world, knowing the world, and eventually of owning the world; norms that are implied in that distinction between subject and object. I have never used the term in any way other than as an attempt at least to echo something that he had been thinking, his notion of the paraliterary and his elaboration of that term. Of course, that means echoing whoever it is that he got it from.

The paraontological [referring to the idea of disrupting ontology as a normative philosophical category] is a little different because I always have associated that term with another great black scholar and thinker, whom I was for a while very close to and still feel close to in the sense that I think we are trying to work along similar lines and out of a similar trajectory. His name is Nahum Chandler. The first time I heard that term was when he said it. I think it was so suggestive to me that I ended up sort of taking off and running with it in a way that probably deviated from some of the ways that he might use it and that he would feel comfortable with. Nahum is a person who is so fastidious in his scholarship that I always thought: “He is not the kind of person who revises things. He just rewrites them.” He just starts all over, and he would send me texts, and I would have these various iterations of his work which sometimes mentioned the term paraontology, and a lot of times did not, but which I thought were very much inflected by his notion of paraontology. When I did use that term, I was always trying to make sure that everyone was clear that the term came from him, even if I was probably deviating from his notion of the term.

I later found out from another friend, another great black scholar and thinker named Ronald Judy, that the term paraontology was originally used by this important but very problematic German thinker named Oscar Becker, who was a student of Edmund Husserl’s and a fellow disciple of Husserl with Martin Heidegger. His notion of paraontology is interesting, suggestive, and rich but, like in Heidegger or maybe even more intensely than in Heidegger, it folds into Becker’s really ugly, problematic politics, and his Nazism.

Can paraontology be connected to the idea of the Übermensch?

Well, that’s an interesting question. There is probably a way in which I would have ultimately said: “Yes, that is true.” But to say that is to say a complicated thing. The notion of the Übermensch is a philosophical term, and we know it primarily as a Nietzschean term, which was adopted by Nazism, and also very much distorted by Nazism. However, there is a compatibility, yes. Which is not to say that there is a direct line between the notions of the Übermensch and paraontology because I do not know that that is the case.

There is nothing about the term paraontology that made it impossible for Becker to be a Nazi, and in this respect there was nothing about the phrase “all men are created equal” that kept Thomas Jefferson from being a slave owner. But another, and more disturbingly precise, way to put it is that perhaps there is something about those terms that made it possible for Becker and Jefferson to be the monsters that they were and are. I think that has to do with very deep questions concerning two things. One is the limits of theoretical activity, which is generally understood in itself to be an essential hallmark of the self-determining man. First of all, I don’t believe that there is some ultimate, final, best theoretical proposition to be made, or some unique and proper conceptual scheme from which it could be made. And even if there were, it still would not absolve us from the work of dealing with the problems and chances of social and aesthetic practice. The work of dealing with practical problems will almost always mean deviating from and violating the theoretical assertion. But it also means that we have to deal with the history of our own inheritance as thinkers.

There is a scholar in the United States named Axelle Karera who has written about this term, paraontology. She means to expose the terrible origins of this term and to take certain thinkers to task in their use of it. She wants to suggest that it produces a condition of problematic indebtedness to the thinker who originates those terms. My sense of it is that, no, it is really not a matter of indebtedness. It is more problematic than that. It is not even a matter of inheritance. It is a matter of kinship. The history of thought produces strange kinship relations that often we don’t want to acknowledge because we don’t want to be seen as being related to Heidegger because he was so much of a… bastard. I don’t want to be related to Thomas Jefferson, but every instance in which I begin to engage in the discourse of freedom and equality is a moment in which I show that kinship. Now, we then have to say something about that, and maybe we also have to do something about that, but we certainly cannot deny it.

Again, this is very much tied to that whole problem of claiming subjectivity. We have to recognize that our struggle for liberation is given in the language of liberalism. That is not just true for Barack Obama. It is true for Frantz Fanon. It is totally clear. It is undeniable. We might not want that to be true, but it is. We might not want there to be a kinship between Frantz Fanon and Daniel Patrick Moynihan [a former US politician, 1927–2003], it is unseemly, that it is. We can love Fanon and hate Moynihan, but there is a kinship there, and it behooves us to pay attention to that. It goes beyond the intentions of an individual thinker. That is why it is not really a matter of indebtedness to a thinker. It is a matter of kinship within the practice of thinking.

There is no cleansing that can be done. Instead, these are paradoxes and contradictions that we have to recognize that we inhabit and then figure out a practical, ethical approach to that inhabitation. That will allow us to actually practice our difference from Heidegger rather than assert it as if it were an identity. We have to work that and play that as a practice.

This makes me think that some Afro-diaspora scholars are still working with the idea of decoloniality, but it may at some point in the future be necessary to reject it. For example, I have not heard you use this term, and I see other thinkers, especially Black feminists, speaking about liberation in other terms. This may go into what you say about things being related or inseparable, a word you used in your lecture about observance and observation. Decoloniality and coloniality are inseparable.

Only under very specific circumstances would I use the term decolonial, and it really is only to refer to a set of practices which I think now can properly be called that way. I also use it to refer to a sort of attitude that is present, at least in my understanding, in scholarly circles. Primarily, I think it shows up as a moral claim that can easily devolve into a kind of moralism. It accompanies a kind of scrutiny that is imposed on people, so you can see whether or not they are properly decolonial, you know? It is puritanical in that way. Even the prefix “de-” implies the possibility of an absolute cleansing. I am not saying that every decolonial thinker believes that there can be some absolute eradication of coloniality, but it produces that general moralistic atmosphere. So, I prefer the term anti-colonial, which to me implies a more or less interminable commitment to fight colonialism. But I am older. The thinkers that I was brought up with, raised to admire, and want to affiliate with, they were anti-colonial thinkers. They were involved in anti-colonial practices. What we know now about the history of so-called postcoloniality is that it did not on any level create a situation in which anti-coloniality was no longer needed. Anti-coloniality is needed now, more than ever before.

Here is the question that most of us in the world now have to confront, and I think it is already implicit in Sylvia Wynter’s work, too, which is: How is it that postcolonial structures, postcolonial politics, which have emerged by way of so called decolonial means, find themselves involved in the administration of coloniality? That is a problem. It is a problem in Africa, in India, and there is a very specific way in which I think it has been a problem for the last fifty years in the United States. My sense of it is that it is becoming more and more of a problem in Brazil too. It manifests itself precisely as the dangers of being represented within old structures which needed to be not infused with black presence, but which needed to be destroyed and continually eradicated. I don’t know that there will ever be a moment in which they will be completely destroyed. There is a vigilance that is required.

Radical work in the original sense of the word.

Yes. We think of colonial institutions as, for instance, banks – the East India Company or various economic and governmental structures that are left in place. But what if it turns out that the very figure of the subject is itself a colonial institution? What if it turns out that representation or inclusion are also colonial institutions that converge with the figure of the settler? I am asking that question because I am almost sure that it is the case. If we put that forward as a hypothesis that is to be tested, and if it turns out that I am wrong, that is okay. But at least it is something that I think needs to be thought about.

It is the kind of thing you want to be wrong about.

Look, I would be happy to be wrong, but I don’t think I am. One way to think about it is that in the US, as a function of deep, deep, deep and absolutely necessary and an absolutely legitimate struggle, we entered into a phase, since the mid-1950s, of increasing inclusion and representation. It feels very much like that phase is coming to a close, that that window is closing or at least transforming in pretty radical and problematic ways. If that means we are ahead of the way of thinking in Norway, like you suggested, we are ahead in a way that a canary is ahead of the miners.

There is an experiment, and let’s call it what it is: An experiment in neoliberal governance that was initiated in the United States, and it was initiated in many ways as a regulative response to radical insurgency. There is a tremendous force that is being exerted on already existing structures of governance, and power figured out that it needed a two-pronged way of responding. One was brutal and militaristic, in the form of increased policing and all of that. The other was inclusion and co-optation. Inclusion and co-optation was the form that it took for the Democratic Party. Policing and brutality was the form that it generally took for the Republicans. But it is important to think of this as a two-pronged attack.

This is what I was trying to say in my lecture. It is a two-pronged attack on the force of black radical insurgency, which was a reconstructive force, but also a deconstructive force. It was not about being included in the already existing thing. It was supposed to be a powerful transformative force. These fruits that emerge of inclusion, and I am one of them in the sense that the accident of being born at this historical moment meant that I could reap a lot of the so-called benefits and so-called privileges of being included in situations where heretofore black people were radically excluded… But, again, like the canary in the mine. I could say: “Look, maybe you can breathe down there, but it’s not really fresh air and it’s unclear if we can get where we’re trying to go going that way.”

In your lecture, you spoke about a window in time between desegregation and the end of the affirmative action for racialised minorities in the US. You called that period of time a window of opportunity but also a window of betrayal. There are many examples, but the first name that came to my mind was Clarence Thomas, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, a Black man who benefited from the affirmative action in his youth, but now voted to end it. How did the US arrive here after having a Black president?

Obama’s election in 2008 was, unfortunately, nothing more than an extension of the already existing paradigm. And it was a moment in which black folks in the United States and all over the world celebrated it as a moment of instantiation of the promise of representation. But it was an extension of the historic colonial disaster and catastrophe that has befallen Black people for five hundred years. It was an extension and an enforcement of that. However, people don’t want to say that; people don’t want to deal with that, even now. But we’ve got to have something that exceeds the desire to be represented. At the same time, of course, how could the desire to be represented be anything other than utterly justifiable and legitimate? See, that’s the thing. It is totally justifiable.

From the perspective of the people who have guarded against representation, there is no critique of it that they could possibly have to offer. The critique of the desire for representation has to be a critique that black people generate. Not that Bolsonaro generates, not that some right-wing fucker in the US generates. It is a critique that we have to generate for ourselves, which seems to be a totally unfair burden. But nevertheless, it is our job to formulate, just like what Spivak says, it is the function of education, which she says is the non-coercive rearrangement of desire. We have to learn how to desire something more than that. And it is terrible, right? How do you learn how to desire something more than being a human, something more than being a person, something other than being a fully-fledged individual subject, something other than being represented? How does an artist come to desire something other than being at this museum? [Points to the surroundings.] Or how does a black scholar desire something other, or more, than being a professor at Harvard, or Yale, or NYU? Like I said, I don’t absolve myself from these questions. They are the questions of my life. I have no pure position from which to articulate these questions. That is the whole point. I am implicated in every one of these questions.

The betrayal, that word specifically, comes from this rich, beautiful encounter between the work of Andaiye and [Barbadian author] George Lamming, from her criticism, her beautiful, literary, critical attention to Lamming’s In the Castle of my Skin (1953). She articulates this notion of betrayal, and she asks: “How have we arrived at a position in Guyana, in the postcolonial Caribbean, in which those whom we have nurtured and sacrificed into power now give aid and comfort to our enemies?” She uses the term betrayal to name that. When I first read it, I was like… well, it is a question that gets deeper every time you think about it, right? Because it is not just asking: “How did these people come to betray us?” When she says “nurtured and sacrificed into power,” that’s got a double edge to it. On the one hand, it could mean we have nurtured them and we have sacrificed for them so that they could come into power. But it also means we have nurtured and sacrificed them to power. We have sent them away to become these people, and now we have to confront the fact that they did, in fact, become these people. And those people are the ones who oppress us.

The betrayal was given all the time, right?

Yeah. And what I believe she does in asking the question in that rich and complex way is it exceeds the sort of narrow calculus of individual morality. It is not a question that lends itself to some puritanical moral superiority. It is like: “Look, this is the boat that we are in. This is where we are.” This is not something that you use in order to denounce somebody that you don’t like because they got something that you don’t think they should have or that you think you should have or whatever. No, this is a general problem that has befallen us. This is an extension of coloniality that we have to work through together.

The New International of Insurgent Feeling

November 16, 2009

1. The justification of the boycott of Israeli academic and cultural institutions is quite simple and quite clear: the victims of a sovereign brutality instantiated in racial-military domination have come to an overwhelming consensus, in the very shadow of the state that has come to exemplify The State and its exception, that boycott is the most immediate form of international support they require. To be in solidarity with the Palestinian people is to enact and support the boycott. However, the significance of the boycott is a slightly more complicated matter. Arguments against the boycott that go beyond the rejection of whatever form either of criticism of Israel or Palestinian resistance or the sometimes open/sometimes veiled assertion of an assumed Israeli exception and exemption, focus on the negative impact the presumed isolation and withdrawal of support for Israeli dissidents will have, already a morally obtuse argument insofar as it shifts our primary political and ethical concerns away from the actual victims of racial-military domination.

At the same time, one of the most crucial possibilities that (the call for the) boycott instantiates is support for the supporters of the Palestinians not only in Israel but all over the world and particularly in the United States which is Israel’s outsized and enabling evil twin. Here, support of the Palestinians denotes whatever operates in conjunction with, but also and necessarily in excess of, criticism of Israel. The critique of Israel, however necessary and justified, is not the equivalent of solidarity with Palestine which, in the U.S., can only ever augment and be augmented by our recognition of and resistance to the ongoing counter-insurgency in which we live. It is, therefore, of great significance that the boycott can help to refresh (the idea of) the alternative, both in the U.S. and in Israel, even in the midst of reaction’s constant intensification. Such refreshment takes the form of an anti-national (and anti-institutional) internationalism—the renewal of insurgent thought, insurgent planning and insurgent feeling as a radical insolvent exchanged between those who refuse to be held by the counter-insurgent forces of an already extant two-state (U. S./Israel) solution.

Standing with the Palestinians gives us something to stand upon precisely so that we can stand against the horrifically interinanimate remains of state sovereignty and exceptionalism in its biopolitical, “democratic” form.

2. The idea and reality of racial-military domination, whose most vulgar and vicious protocols are in a kind of eclipse that is properly understood as a kind of dissemination, but whose effects—the very order that it brings into a retroactively conferred sacred existence—remain as the afterlife of sovereignty in the regime of biopolitics, is emphatically and boisterously alive in the state of Israel and in the territories it occupies. Reference to this idea and its continuing necessity for already existing structures of power helps us understand why Israel is called almost everything but the settler colony that it is in official media and intellectual culture. This discursive exception turns out to be a reservoir for the sovereign exception. It is as if the essence of sovereignty remains available as long as it is manifest somewhere, as a kind of exemplary remainder.

Because biopolitical containment often seems to liquidate the alternative, it’s important to note how the assertion of the right of death and the power over life still must make its presence felt as the precondition of a liquidation of the very possibility of an alternative. One way to think about all this is to begin with the axiom that Israel has been thrust into, only partly by way of its own having volunteered for, the role of the exemplary remainder of sovereignty after its having taken the form of racial-military domination. The exemplary remainder of sovereignty is constrained, among other things, constantly to claim a kind of exemption that accompanies its enactment of exception. The state that constantly asserts its right to exist, and its right to insist that its right to exist be constantly recognized by the very ones upon whom that right is built and brutally exercised, is the one that bears the standard for the right of every other state so to exist and to behave. Such behavior is always, ultimately, the exercise of the right of death and the power over life that now constitutes the residue of sovereignty in the biopolitical regime.

Insofar as the U.S. is also a settler colonial regime whose very essence and protocols are racial-military domination, it shares with Israel, in an extraordinarily visceral way, this tendency violently to insist on its right to exist and on the rightness of its existence no matter what forms that existence takes, no matter how much the everyday life of the state contradicts its stated principles. But this is also to say that the state form, in whatever materialization of its various stages of biopolitical development, always shares in this insistence. What’s at stake, precisely, are the stakes any state shares in Israel’s right to exist, in the residue of sovereignty in the biopolitical, and in the traces of sovereignty that will have been carried in any state, anywhere. In the most general sense, always already residual sovereignty must respond violently to what brings it into existence—the already given, constantly performed capacity for the alternative. The alternative is always under duress and must continually be refreshed and rediscovered.

3. I am speaking for the boycott, in solidarity with the Palestinians, because I am committed to the insurgent alternative, whose refreshment is (in) the anti-national international. The terms of that commitment are nothing more than another way of saying that I am committed to the black radical tradition.

In preparing myself not only to speak, but also to write and teach from that commitment, a particular question has become, for me, quite persistent: how might discourses of globalization and, more pointedly, of diaspora become more than just another mode of turning away from the very idea of the international? I’ve been dwelling—in a way that is possibly quite problematic—on this question, which is a particularly urgent question now for black studies and which is deeply and unavoidably concerned with what the boycott—which is to say solidarity with Palestine—might mean for them.

There is a particular kind of sub-political experience that emerges from having been the object of that mode of racial-military domination that is best described as incorporative exclusion that settler colonialism instantiates. It is not the experience of the conscious pariah, as Hannah Arendt would have it. Her misrecognition of this experience is at the root of her profound misunderstanding of black insurgency in the United States, which was not the unruly, sometimes beautiful, and ultimately unstable and pathological sociality of the ones who are not wanted, but was and is, rather, an unruly, always beautiful, sometimes beautifully ugly, destabilizing and auto-destabilizing sociality-as-pathogen for the ones whose desire precisely for that pathogen and its life-forming, life-giving properties is obsessive and murderous. This more than political, anti-political, experience of the ones who are brutally and viciously wanted is something to which anyone who has any interest whatsoever in the very idea of another way of being in the world must constantly renew their own ethical and intellectual relation. This experience, in its incalculable variousness, in the richness of its social, aesthetic and theoretical resources, is the very aim of black studies and the source of its significance.

As someone whose intellectual orientation is defined by the study of that experience, I am interested in the refreshment of that orientation, for which I sometimes feel despair, in a moment that is so often misunderstood as victorious. I believe this boycott, as a mode of international solidarity and exchange, can bring that refreshment. I think that anyone who shares this orientation (for peace, justice, freedom of movement and association, freedom from want and domination), under whatever of its local habitations and names, in Palestine, in Israel, and most certainly in the United States, simply must be attuned to the necessity, and to this specific possibility, of refreshment. Selfishly, I am interested in how this boycott might provide some experiential and theoretical resources for the renewal of a certain affective, extra-political sociality—the new international of insurgent feeling. This is to say, finally, that these remarks have been nothing other than a long-winded preface to an apology to Palestinians for the fact that, in the end, the boycott might very well do more for me than it does for you, precisely in its allowing me to be in solidarity with you and with the richness, impossibly developed in dispossession and deprivation as payment of a debt that was never promised and never owed, that also comprises Palestinian social life. Please allow me to augment my apology with an expression of gratitude for the chance that your call for solidarity, which is itself an act of solidarity, provides.


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