Foucault once wrote: “Do not think that one has to be sad in order to be militant, even though the thing one is fighting is abominable.” By criticizing the bureaucrats of the revolution and the sad passions of the militants, Foucault conjured up a positive grammar of the political awakening of 1968, that has not been a second Freudo-Marxist golden age, but an incision into the political itself, in that a changed analysis of power came together with a changed model of rebellion. The events of 1968 saw the emergence of a political potentiality that had left the Leninist model of revolution behind, and turned to a minoritarian and molecular model of the break. It focussed around the question of how various forms of desire traversing a situation unfold their forces in the process by which the societal order is overthrown.
Since 1968, however, minoritarian politics have failed. After they have been detached from an anticapitalist approach, differences are exclusively acknowledged in the mode of commercialized life-forms or essentialist predicates. Thus, the concrete particularity of culturalized or ethnicized differences supplements the homogeneity of capital, and dissident practises disappear in the modernization of normal. This successful failure has led to a controversial debate on the question of the political in Postmarxism that is shaped along the following lines: Butler‘s Levinasian ethics of the vulnerability and passivity of a precarious life-form, Badiou’s event of truth, Derrida‘s messianic expectation of an event which evades any expectation, Zizek’s idea of a neo-Leninist decision, Agamben‘s notion of a potentiality that is in any relation to the act, the concept of an empty universality in hegemony theory, the postoperaist ontological belief in the autonomy of the multitude and a coming communism of creative potentiality, Rancière‘s suggestion that the political conflict resides in the tension between the structured social body and the part with no-part.
The project „After 1968“ negotiates the differences between these concepts with regard to an ontological foundation or an irreducible relativity and inner differentiation of the political, the relation of governmentality, valorization, and law, and the conflicting ideas of the immanence or excessivity of a political community. 2008 the seminars focus on the analysis of labor power, immaterial work, and the notion of common.
Research project by Katja Diefenbach