Saturday, 28 January 2023

Thomas Blom Hansen and nailing dicks to the bench

I had previously posted about the crazy theory of Sovereignty- i.e. the supreme authority within a jurisdiction- posited by Thomas Blom Hansen and Finn Stepputat and return to the topic here in a bid to identify their major malfunction

The following is from 'Sovereign Bodies' which they edited. It came out about 17 years ago. 

This volume questions the obviousness of the state-territory-sovereignty link.

There can be a sovereign order- e.g. Knights of Malta- which does not have a territory.  I suppose one could say that, for a particular purpose, one sovereign authority may consider another to be sovereign even if it is a bit shit. The same point may be made about territorial 'liberties' and 'sanctuaries' created by a sovereign such that his own power is limited for a particular purpose and within certain boundaries such that he gets more money. 

Sovereignty does not mean power. A sovereign may be powerless- e.g. the Emperor of Japan during the Shogunate- and sovereignty is not necessarily extinguished by loss of relevant territory. It is not indivisible or inviolable or transcendent- it can be pooled, subordinated, suspended, extinguished, revived or made conditional. This is the sort of thing constitutional lawyers or diplomats concerned with protocol might bang on about. On the other hand, the word sovereignty could also be used in a metaphorical sense. One might say 'the sovereignty of the people is expressed by farting loudly any time anybody mentions Global Warning'. The meaning is that the masses acknowledge no supreme authority save the oracular and smelly power of the fart when faced with virtue signaling shite. But then any word could be used in a metaphorical sense. One might say 'Crimea's supposed sovereignty is a smelly fart which must not be allowed to linger in the august precincts of the Council of Europe.' Metaphors, however, don't refer to a factual state of affairs. No type of sovereignty is actually a fart and any metaphorical use of the word 'sovereignty' is worth no more than a fart. Meta-metaphors- based on taking farts to actually be sovereign or sovereignty to actually be a fart- are delusive and any supposed scholarship based upon them must be dismissed as stinky bullshit. 

In the case of sovereignty, it should be borne in mind that some crazy people may have believed the King was Divine or Transcendent or really really special. Nutters may also have horrible sexual kinks involving bondage and submission and torture and having your dick nailed to a bench while the King and the Pope and Mummy look on laughing maniacally. It is these sort of crazy nutjobs who have informed Hansen and Stepputat's garbage theory of sovereignty.

In tune with a line of constructivist scholarship in International Relations theory

which merely refers to collective beliefs which currently obtain- not crazy shit about the Divine Right of Kings or Popes or sacred crocodiles in the Nile.  

(e.g., Kratochwill 1986; Ruggie 1993; Biersteker and Weber 1996) we conceptualize the territorial state and sovereignty as social constructions.

But this conceptualization is not itself a social construction.  It is not a collective or belief, norm, or convention. It is crazy shit cooked up in worthless University Departments.  Social constructions solve coordination or discoordination problems. This is merely masturbation for cretinous academics. 

Furthermore, we suggest to shift the ground for our understanding of sovereignty from issues of territory and external recognition by states, toward issues of internal constitution of sovereign power within states through the exercise of violence over bodies and populations.

This is foolish. The exercise of violence over bodies and populations occurs with or without any type of sovereignty- de jure or de facto. Moreover, sovereign power can exist without its interfering in such violence. There is a right to self-defense. There may also be a sovereign who exercises violence. But, equally, the sovereign may decline to do any such thing. 

Why are these cretins writing such nonsense? The answer is that they, like some other crazy Continental pseudo-intellectuals, have misunderstood Hegel so as to indulge in magical thinking. 

In the Philosophy of Right, Hegel remarks that during “the feudal monarchy of earlier times, the state certainly had external sovereignty, but internally, neither the monarch nor the state was sovereign” (Hegel [1821] 1991, 315).

Hegel was wrong. External sovereignty might not exist simply because the country was a remote island unknown to its nearest neighbors. But internally, if there was a monarch, then there was a sovereign though that sovereign may have had no coercive power. Equally, a highly coercive monarch- like Henry VIII- might create Liberties or Sanctuaries- or have what were previously ecclesiastical sanctuaries under canon law brought under the umbrella of the common law for some purpose of his own. 

To be fair, Hegel specifies that he is using a terminology of his own such that there are 'two determinations'- i.e. things which sublate themselves in the moment they are understood, as happens when a labored figure of speech is decoded- which supposedly constitute the sovereignty of the state. But there can be sovereignty without a state and vice versa. Hegel's remarks only make sense for German students of a particular period who believed that something very nice and good was coming to be- viz. the shitshow that was German unification under Prussia.  

Historicist ideas such that countries moved towards a unified 'Maachtstaat' machine for waging war or that Machstaats were bound to evolve into nice and sweet ordo-liberal Rechtsstaats are obviously fucked in the head. There is phenotypal plasticity. The fitness landscape dictates the trajectory of political regimes. 

This “internal sovereignty” of the modern state was only possible under “lawful and constitutional conditions,” in a unitary “Rechtsstaat” whose “ideality” would show itself as “ends and modes of operation determined by, and dependent on, the end of the whole” (316, emphasis as in original).

Hegel is not speaking of material reality but how it is understood. 'Determinants' merely a sort of rhetorical scaffolding of an unnecessary and labored type. You understand the King doesn't really rule at the very moment you understand the King's function or unction or truncheon is some obvious shite which doesn't matter a fart. The good news is that you don't have to bother with this type of stupidity if you know that the Rechtsstaat of Teutonic tossers were all fucking horrible. In matters of politics and jurisprudence, Anglo-Saxon is the way to go. The Law is just a service industry like prostitution or pizza delivery.

Hegel makes it clear that this modern “ideality” of sovereignty can only be realized insofar as local and familial solidarities of “civil society” are sublated to expressions of patriotism through the state, particularly in situations of crisis (316).

No. He is saying that, in his system, the understanding of 'civil society' must be sublated at the moment it is fully grasped. But, his system is known to be shit, so we needn't bother.  

Even in this, the most systematic thinker of the modern state,

but his system was shit.  

sovereignty is not the bedrock of state power but a precarious effect—and an objective— of state formation.

only in the understanding of the would-be Hegelian, not in reality.  

Our aims are threefold. First, we suggest that sovereign power and the violence (or the threat thereof) that always mark it,

The Pope is sovereign. That's why so many peeps keep getting beaten up by the Swiss Guard in Vatican City. 

Violence does not always accompany sovereignty. On the other hand, all sovereigns piss and shit. Why won't these two nutters concentrate on defecation and micturition as the marks of sovereignty rather than violence? Is it coz thinking about violence gets them hard?  

should be studied as practices dispersed throughout, and across, societies.

and various species of animals.  The Lion is the King of the Jungle. He nails the dicks of hyenas to benches while laughing maniacally. 

The unequivocal linking of sovereign power to the state is a historically contingent and peculiar outcome of the evolution of the modern state system in Europe since the Westphalian peace in 1648.

No modern state signed shit in 1648. 'Westphalian sovereignty' is a nineteenth century invention. 

The discipline of International Relations has for decades assumed states to be both normal, that is, with de facto legitimate control of their populations and territory, and identical, that is, with similar interests, strategies, and expected patterns of action.

It only makes these assumptions for a didactic or model theoretic purpose.  

To become a normal sovereign state with normal citizens continues to be a powerful ideal,

though, if the thing is viable, it has already happened.  

releasing considerable creative energy,

Kurds are very creative- that's true enough though their dynasts seem to have made a mess of things in Northern Iraq. Sad. 

and even more repressive force, precisely because its realization presupposed the disciplining and subordination of other forms of authority.

Not necessarily. A super-power might have superior authority and yet enable this realization. 

The trouble with these two cretins is that they don't read over what they have written and are thus never in a position to correct their own escalating misology.  

We suggest that sovereignty of the state is an aspiration

But aspirations exist even if they are wholly impossible. Why not say 'my ginormous cock is an aspiration that seeks to create itself in the face of Supermodels who will express surprise and delight at its prodigious girth and length.' 

that seeks to create itself in the face of internally fragmented, unevenly distributed and unpredictable configurations of political authority that exercise more or less legitimate violence in a territory.

Which is what happened in the USA. The guys ruling one State may have been enslaving and lynching some people who enjoyed perfect liberty and security in some other part of the country.  

Sovereign power, whether exercised by a state, in the name of the nation, or by a local despotic power or community court, is always a tentative and unstable project

unless it isn't which is what actually obtains in India or America or Europe- save for Eastern Ukraine.  

whose efficacy and legitimacy depend on repeated performances of violence and a “will to rule.”

Fuck that. A reasonably effective police force is all that is required.  It would be truer to say that 'sovereign power is only exercised in a tentative and unstable manner if the person or persons involved need to piss or shit really badly. Thus the efficacy and legitimacy of sovereign power (which it is difficult to exercise with any dignity while you are pissing or shitting yourself')ultimately depends on repeated performances of mictiration and defecation and a 'will to not soil yourself'. 

These performances can be spectacular and public,

Like when the President of South Sudan wet himself on live TV 

secret and menacing,

like when King Charles III creeps up on Joe Biden and releases a silent but deadly fart in his face.  

and also can appear as scientific/technical rationalities of management and punishment of bodies.

Rishi should punish the King if he farts in Biden's face. I'm kidding. Rishi should tell the Scottish Nationalists what Charles Rex had done and that would put an end to any talk of breaking up the Union.

Although the meanings and forms of such performances of sovereignty always are historically specific,

Charles Rex is chasing his late Mum's corgis and is pissing on them 

they are, however, always constructing their public authority through a capacity for visiting violence on human bodies.

Why only mention violence? Why do these guys not mention farts and burps? Is it coz thinking about violence gets them hard?  

Is it not the case that sovereign power always seeks to project itself as dignified and not wholly given over to flatulence? Why don't these two cretins draw attention to this fact?

 sovereign power always seeks to project itself as given, stable and natural, it never completely manages to achieve the status of a “master signifier”

save in jurisprudence, diplomacy, economics and other such stuff which actually matters 

that can stabilize a social order and a set of identities.

but there is no sovereignty unless the social order meets a Goldilocks condition re. social order.  

, we believe

stupid shit because you are stupid shitheads 

that the complex history of the reconfiguration of sovereign power and citizenship in colonial and postcolonial societies demonstrates something important, and uncomfortable, about the permutations of these concepts.

Concepts don't have permutations more particularly if they overlap in significance or acceptation. As the nature of sovereign power changes, the nature of citizenship changes and vice versa. 

Colonial forms of sovereignty were more fragmented and complex,

Not in British India. There were just two categories- British subjects and British protected subjects. Things got more complicated as Buddhist Burma and Muslim Pakistan broke away.  

more reliant on spectacles and ceremony,

Not necessarily. The Brits liked ceremony but the Dutch in Indonesia didn't go in for it very much. 

and demonstrative and excessive violence,

one 'excessive' demonstration was generally enough to keep a Province quiet for a decade.  

than the forms of sovereign power that had emerged in Europe after several centuries of centralizing efforts.

Nonsense! Scotland still has a different legal and educational system. British India tended to standardize things across Presidencies from the Eighteen Thirties onward.  

These differences were rooted in indirect rule at a distance, to pragmatic reliance on local, indigenous forms of rule and sovereignty, and tied to the efforts at asserting racial and civilizational superiority.

In some places at some times but not in others. But this was equally true of European States. Sweden didn't treat its indigenous Sami people very well and the Catholic Irish or the Celtic speaking people of Cornwall, Wales, Northern Scotland etc. have their own tales of woe to tell. 

European states never aimed at governing the colonial territories with the same uniformity and intensity as were applied to their own populations.

Unless that is precisely what they did. It was a favorite gibe of George Bernard Shaw that the Indian Civil Service showed greater concern with uniformity and intensity than anything which obtained at home. It is certainly true that the Indian penal code was in advance of that of the home country in several respects.  

The emphasis was rarely on forging consent and the creation of a nation-people,

As the Irish complained 

and almost exclusively on securing subjection, order, and obedience through performance of paramount sovereign power and suppression of competing authorities.

That's the story of Ireland, not the story of India. In 1857 Disraeli told the House of Commons that India hadn't been conquered.  

Demonstrative violence and short term economic exploitation were constitutive of colonial rule

and domestic rule. States need money. That means economic exploitation- e.g. getting me to pay excise duty on my booze and fags- in the short run. Also, what deters me from grabbing the titties of police officers is my fear of 'demonstrative violence'.  

and took precedence over long-term economic rationalities.

There are no long term economic rationalities- coz, in the long run, everybody dies.  

As a result, the configurations of de facto sovereign power, justice, and order in the postcolonial states were from the outset partial, competing, and unsettled.

Just like in the never-colonized state.  

We believe that by zooming in on the historical production

evolution or constitution but not production 

and actual practices of sovereign bodies—from states, nations

which are not sovereign unless they are also states 

, communities,

which aren't sovereign 

self-appointed big-men and leaders,

who aren't sovereigns 

to mobile individuals and political outfits

 Individuals and political outfits aren't sovereign whether they are mobile or lying prone.  

—outside the metropolitan hearts of empire,

coz hearts of empires could also be rural or sylvan or located on the Ocean floor- right?  

this volume can  qualify and complicate understandings of power and sovereignty both in the postcolonial world and in “the West”; it can open new conceptual fields in the anthropology of politics; and it can demonstrate the need for more embedded and “emic” understandings of what sovereign power actually means.

Sovereign power is power with a particular Hohfeldian immunity.  It isn't some shit these cunts have in their heads.  

 The modern notion of sovereignty

are the same as ancient notions of sovereignty.  

as the ultimate and transcendent mark of indivisible state power emerged

in ancient Sumer or some other such place.  

in Europe from the complex power struggles between the Vatican and the kings of northern and western Europe.

Fuck off! Before there were Popes, there were Caesars some of whom were declared to be Gods.  

As the idea of the ultimate authority vested in the Pope and the Holy Emperor began to crumble in the Renaissance and post-Reformation world,

The Pope's authority fluctuated. This was even more true of the Holy Roman Emperor. These cunts are just recycling High School History of a cretinous sort. 

kings and their states increasingly became loci of both secular and divine authority. In his classic account, Laski argues that, “Luther was driven to assert the divinity of states, that the right of a secular body might be made manifest. [. . .]

Laski was talking bollocks. Luther asserted the divinity of Lord Jesus Christ not some shitty little Reich. Still, given all that Jews at that time had to put up with, Laski shitting on Luther is forgiveable. 

The state became incarnate in the Prince” (Laski 1950, 45).

Or the Prince became but the shadow of his Crown. Anybody can talk bollocks of this sort.  

The rising urban bourgeoisie in many European states put their weight behind the kings in the protracted conflicts with the landed aristocracy,

No they didn't. In England, the bourgeoisie turned against Charles I and James II sometimes under the banner of territorial magnates. Under the Sun King, the opposite was true. But only approximately. The picture varied greatly across Europe. 

challenging the latter’s rights to land, taxation, and eminence.

No. Something like 'Tiebout sorting' occurred. Capital fled to where it was kept safer. But, in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, the nobility prevailed and the nation sank under foreign occupation.  

The results were varieties of absolutist power, unification of territory, and centralization of the administration of the state, as well as elevation of royal power from being bestowed through acts of investiture by the political bodies of the estates, to become originary, indivisible, and above contestation.

Not for long even in Russia. There is no point saying a thing is 'above contestation' if Praetorians can kill the sovereign and put in someone else.  

The sovereignty of the king now became the central principle of power, a mystical and metaphysical secret, beyond the reach or comprehension of ordinary men and only answerable to the divine law.

This simply didn't happen save in silly political pamphlets. Hobbes, though briefly a tutor to Charles II, was opposed to Filmer and 'divine right'. He fled Paris for London precisely he feared the Royalists would kill him for Leviathan. Later Charles II gave him a pension.  

As famously put by Thomas Hobbes: “The multitude so united in one person, is called a common-wealth. This is the Generation of that great LEVIATHAN, or rather (to speak more reverently) of that Mortall God, to which we owe under the Immortal God, our peace and defense” (Hobbes 1991, 120). This configuration of power had roots in older conceptions of kingship,

D'uh! Hobbes and other scholars spent a lot of time translating Greek into Latin and so forth. They well knew that there had been God Emperors all over the fucking place long before a crucified Man-God from Nazareth became known to Europe. 

not least in the late-medieval political-theological notion of “the King’s Two Bodies,” analyzed subtly by Ernst Kantorowich.

romantic tosh. The guy had a cult of Fredrick II and thought Stefan George was the cat's pajamas. It seems even assimilated Jews don't understand Christianity. Also, Germans are clueless about Anglo Saxon law which is based on 'legal fictions'. The King, like anybody else, can hold property either personally or as embodying a Corporation or Trust howsoever called. This is a tangled field. 

In the figure of the king, two bodies were united, the “natural body” of the living king,

unless they were separated- e.g. by grant of regency or sui generis act of a Lord Protector.  

and the more eternal and encompassing “body politic” which expressed the office, the estates, and the majesty of the royal institution.

Which weren't that different from what pertained to a Corporation or what we would now recognize as a Trust.  

The latter was superior to the former, and the body politic is often described as a corpus mysticum, a mystical body that was eternal and could not die along with the natural body.

For the same reason that a man's Estate survives his death even if he dies intestate. 

In spite of this articulation of theological concepts in the sphere of politics, there was a clear acknowledgment of royal power as not being sacred in itself, but being embedded in and dependent on the recognition of his subjects, as well as the blessings of the Church (Kantorowicz 1957, 7–23).

Or not, if that is what actually obtained- e.g. in Ireland 'beyond the pale' after Henry VIII divorced his wife. 

In contrast to this older acknowledgment of royal power as fragile and embedded, the notion of absolute rule

which was even older. There have always been guys who claimed a divine right to be God-Emperor. Some succeeded.  

posited a constitutive and unbridgeable distance between the sovereign and the subjects,

but this 'unbridgeable distance' also exists between different subjects which is why I can't sue to get you to wipe my bum on the grounds that your hand belongs to me or my arse actually is your responsibility.  

and imposition of the will of the sovereign on the body politic.

Or the imposition of anybody will in any justiciable matter.  

As Maritain puts it in his critique of sovereignty: “Either sovereignty means nothing, or it means supreme power separate and transcendent—not at the peak but above the peak—and ruling the entire body politic from above.

The same thing could be said of libertarian 'self-ownership'. Still the word 'power', like the word 'violence', gets shitty little academics hard. But what is true of power and violence is also true of shitting and pissing. Nobody can take a dump on my behalf when nature calls me. It is something I have to do myself.  

That is why this power is absolute (ab-solute, that is non-bound, separate) and consequently unlimited” (Maritain 1969, 47).

Only in the same sense that my power to shit out a turd taller than the Eiffel tower is unlimited.  

This configuration of sovereignty had been in gestation for a long time in Western Europe.

Nonsense! Fredrick II was quite erudite and had some misconceptions about Islamic Law but, let's face it, he failed.  

Kings tried to carve out a space

unless they didn't have to or couldn't be arsed 

between the localized power of feudal lords, and the deeply entrenched notion of imperium—embodied in the Holy Roman Empire and the power of the Vatican to legislate, overrule and excommunicate disobedient kings.

Kings did what they needed to be Kings unless they didn't need to or stopped being Kings despite their best efforts. No fucking 'space' had to be carved out. 

Hobbes’s notion of the Covenant, by which subjects give up their right to rule themselves and grant it to the overlord in exchange for protection, defined the origin of sovereign power in acts of violence

no. Consensual acts are not acts of violence. However after lots of violence has occurred, consensus is easier if one guy keeps kicking everybody else's ass.  

that were foundational exactly because they expressed an excessive and overpowering resolve to rule on part of the king.

or just a moderate desire to do so. However if overpowering urges to micturate and defecate were not yielded to, the King might explode and die.  

In spite of the imputed stability and self-evidence of the Covenant, most of Hobbes’s argument circled around how sovereign power could be delegated and exercised in ways that would not undermine the status of the sovereign .

Don't delegate sovereign power to a stranger who says he has a hamster in his pocket and asks if you want to stroke it. The dude does not really have a hamster in his pocket. There is a hole there which leads to his penis. Such, at any rate, are the gems of wisdom I'd have imparted if, like Hobbes, I was tasked with tutoring the future Charles II.  

The most cursory glance at the violent constructions of centralized states of this era makes it plain that the preservation of the majesty of the sovereign king always was threatened by war and popular insubordination.

Even if there was no fucking majesty or sovereign king.  

The model of sovereign kingship was also from the outset challenged by other notions of legitimacy and representation of power.

Like dudes saying 'You iz not the boss of me'.  

The elaboration of a theory of the inalienability of sovereignty was at the heart of these efforts from the twelfth century onward.

Prior to that Kings paid dudes to go around saying you could alienate the fuck out of the King's powers provided you stroked the hamster in his pocket.  

As shown by Riesenberg,

Peter Riesenberg- but that stuff is outdated. 

both theorists of law as well as theologians contributed to a new idea of legitimate power and public office defined as a relationship between individual subjects and the king, rather than mediated by the estates or the res sacrae, the realm and property of the church (Riesenberg 1956).

This simply wasn't true. What these guys forget is that Byzantium was just as much a legatee of Imperial Rome. Anyway, plenty of Church Property was constantly being de-sacralized. 

See, e.g., van Gelderen’s recent account of how notions of civitas and respublica in the early Dutch republic in the sixteenth century challenged and undermined the idea of kingship as the only legitimate representation of the estates (van Gelderen 2003). 

No. These notions had currency because, in an early Republic, chances are the idea of Kingship is gonna be challenged and undermined. That's coz a Republic isn't a fucking monarchy.  

The violent and yet precarious character of sovereign power was expressed even more clearly in Jean Bodin’s earlier discussion of what he called the “true marks of sovereignty.” As Bodin puts it: “To be able to recognize such a person—that is, a sovereign—we have to know his attributes (marques) which are properties not shared by subjects. For if they were shared, there would be no sovereign prince” (Bodin 1992, 46).

The attribute is God telling a Prophet- Bodin mentions Samuel- that so and so should be King. Bodin goes on to say that the King's suppressed Samuel's speech to the people where he described all the naughty things which Kings should not do. I suppose Catholics didn't go in much for Bible reading back then. 

These marks were not necessarily bodily marks or forms of dress but first and foremost a specific type of actions that by their resolve and sheer force affirmed the status of the sovereign power as indivisible, transcendent, and self-referring. Bodin enumerates ten different marks, or abilities, that mark sovereign power:

though they may arise purely by consensus or convenience- e.g. the decision of an arbitrator or other such person employed for the purpose by a professional or other such association. There need be no 'foundational act of violence'. Before there were Kings, there were Judges and Prophets. Samuel himself was a war leader.

to give laws and change them at will (without consent of the subjects);to wage war against opponents or enemies of the state; to appoint the highest officials of the state only at its own will; to have the last judgment (dernier ressort) in legal disputes and thus also the power to pardon and grant freedom to prisoners irrespective of the law; to coin and validate money within the state; to impose tax on subjects or to delegate that right to officials or lesser lords; to confiscate land and assets; to use a royal seal to validate and authorize; to change the language of his subjects; and to reserve the exclusive right for himself to bear the title of “majesty” 

Why are these fools quoting all this? It is obvious that sovereign power- e.g. that of the British Crown in Parliament- may lack some or all these attributes.  

What is implicit but never spelled out in Bodin’s text is that

the Holy Roman Emperor should kindly just go fuck himself. France could be way more cohesive under a sensible monarch.  

sovereignty is an effect of these actions, and that sovereignty needs to be performed and reiterated on a daily basis

just like shitting and pissing but unlike violence 

in order to be effective, and to form the basic referent of the state.

So the basic referent of the state is analogous to shitting and pissing.  

Just like power only can be known through its effects,

only in the sense that piss and shit can be known by the authors only when they taste and swallow it 

sovereignty also was here defined as a performative category,

like shitting and pissing 

an ontologically empty category

nope. The category must de defined over a populous ontology.  

organized around a mythical act of foundational violence, or what Derrida has called a coup de force, a self-referential founding of the law as ground (Derrida 1992).

Though no such thing has ever happened or could happen save in some Hegelian sense such that it is sublated at that very moment.  

If sovereignty is fiction,

then our bodies are fiction 

as Runciman has proposed in a similar vein (Runciman 2003), it is made real and reproduced through

shitting and pissing. You don't really exist. You are purely fictional save when you piss or shit.  

ritualized, everyday confirmations of this royal violence:

again the obsession with violence! Fuck do these dudes think the late Queen Gor' bless er, got up to at Bucking Palace. Was she constantly beating and sodomizing the Prime Minister?  

the giving and enforcement of laws, the killing of criminals as well as enemies of the state, or of those who did not pay due respect to the king, and so on. The absolutist and authoritarian states developed and matured

with or without Kings  

in response to the insubordination, energy, and immense creativity released by the renaissance notion of the immanence of the world, that is, the independence of the human world from the divine and the transcendent (Hardt and Negri 2000–1, 97–101).

But only because God permeates his Creation. Why are these cretins mentioning this?  

These states sought to control increasingly mobile and literate populations and evermore restless and assertive estates within the body politic.

No. They sought to profit by increased mobility, literacy etc. It simply isn't true that power is all about chaining up a gimp in your torture dungeon or that all Knowledge is a conspiracy to prevent everybody acknowledging that they want to be flogged while a one legged obese man shits on their tits.     

The language of sovereign power now downplayed its self-born and self-referring character

because it wanted to play up its character as a self-pleasuring and self medicating loser.

and turned to increasingly moralizing and inclusive registers, positing the sovereign as serving God’s will,

as opposed to offering everybody a cheap thrill  

as well as the people by obeying the moral laws of society. In Pufendorf’s classical treatise On the Duty of Man and Citizen (1673), sovereign power is described as founded on the consent of the people which can only be maintained if the sovereign provides safety to the people and rules in a virtuous and prudent way.

Unless they can do a better job for themselves. But Republics too are sovereign.  

The relationship between ruler and subject is described in terms of duties of the citizens but also of the sovereign who should enforce “public discipline so that the citizens conform to the precepts of the laws not so much through fear of punishment as by habituation” (Pufendorf [1673] 1991, 152).

That's still pretty much what happens. Anyway, by then England had had a Lord Protector who'd kicked ass. The problem was succession. Cromwell's son did not inherit his qualities and the Long Parliament proved to be more than somewhat shit.  

Considering the rhetoric of sovereign power being exercised in the name and service of the people, the emergence of “the people” in the eighteenth century political debates as the ultimate source of sovereignty appears less discontinuous than sometimes made out to be.

It was a revival of Senatus Populusque Romanus, though after the Glorious Revolution, the Brits settled on the Crown in Parliament coz the People smell bad. 

“The people” and notions of popular sovereignty were slowly invented in various forms in different states in Europe and in North America (Morgan 1988)

they had always existed in the notion of 'the Commons', 'the Third Estate' etc.  

but were never equated with what Spinoza termed “the multitude,” that is, the actually existing mass of subjects.

Unless they were.  

“The people” was made up of small groups of educated, wealthy, and propertied men, and of representatives of the estates—free peasants, artisans, burgers, and so on.

peasants, artisans and burgers are part of the Third Estate in Western Europe. Sweden and Russia were a little different.  

By virtue of their control of property, of their domestic life and family, and of themselves (qua their Christian conscience and interiorized belief that supposedly controlled their actions), they were accorded a measure of sovereignty as individuals.

No. Subjects had no 'measure of sovereignty' whatsoever. However, a sovereign prince could serve another sovereign and though having no personal immunity, nevertheless his own demesne could not be escheated. Conventionally, the eleventh century is seen as the starting point for modern notions of sovereignty based on Roman law and which, supposedly, differed from the traditional limited monarchies which had emerged out of the Western European Dark Ages. The problem is obvious. William the Conqueror was more of an absolutist than anybody before or since. England has never seen a humanitarian disaster like the harrying of the North. But, going further back, to the Seventh Century Visigothic code we find there was considerable fluctuation from reign to reign, or even within a reign, between absolutism and limited authority. This suggests the essentially ergodic, not epistemic, nature of power and sovereignty. Economists, not stupid anthropologists who get a hard on when they see the word 'violence', can clarify matters. Better still, is just plain, garden variety, common sense. 

Whereas the king and his corpus mysticum had symbolized and embodied sovereignty,

unless their heads were chopped off 

the popular sovereignty was an even more abstract and transcendent principle

i.e. meaningless 

and yet embodied in the ideal citizen, the man who is reasonable qua his reason, his self-control, and his property.

Unless the fellow was a Jew or belonged to wrong sect or political clique or was easy and enticing to rob and kill.  

As Lefort has remarked, democracy made political power and thus sovereignty into an “empty place,”

these guys have a fixation with empty spaces- probably coz they are always in search of places to have a crafty wank. 

a mystical source of power that only could be temporarily manifested through representation of “the people” by “mere mortals” (Lefort, 1988, 17).

as opposed to zombies- right? 

The crucial marks of sovereign power— indivisibility, self-reference, and transcendence—

are meaningless. Sovereignty is not indivisible. A sovereign nation can split into two like Czechoslovakia or Norway splitting off from Sweden. In British law, the Crown became divisible in 1953. Previously there was only one realm. Furthermore sovereignty is not established by self-reference though it may embrace a doctrine of autochthony such that its grundnorm is not located in what went before. Finally, there is no necessary link between sovereignty and transcendence. The thing could be perfectly secular. 

were now embedded in the citizens.

very true. That's how come all the citizens of the USA can't be prevented from all fitting into the same pair of underpants.  

Violence was now fetishized as a weapon of reason

only in the sense that it stands to reason that ancient tribal fetishes must be shoved up the bums of violent anthropologists if other weapons are not available. 

and preservation of freedom of the citizens vis-à-vis the threats from outsiders,

because tickling invaders may not cause them to run away 

from internal enemies, and from those not yet fit for citizenship—slaves and colonial subjects.

not to mention cats and rubber plants. 

The French and American revolutions did, however, open several disjunctures between people and state.

 Nonsense! Those disjunctures already existed because of fetishes which had been crammed up the bums of violent anthropologists. 

The absolute monarch had represented sovereign power

No. He had sovereign power. I have a five pound note. I do not represent the purchasing power of 5 quid. 

and the state encompassing “the people” within the body politic.

coz a body politic which embraces 'the poo-poo' would just be silly.  

Now the state and “the people” could no longer be identical

except if, as in the American constitution, they were 

and the state could become unrepresentative, illegitimate, and worthy of destruction.

It could always become that even if it had been constituted by cats 

This crystallization of popular sovereignty did not curb the authoritarian possibilities inherent in the modern state

nor did it blurb the anarchic impossibilities extrinsic to the ancient gate 

but created the possibility of a new and more intensive merging of state and people.

They could now all get into the same pair of underpants. 

New intensive and “caring” forms of government of welfare, economy, and morality had developed in towns and cities across the German speaking Central Europe in the seventeenth century.

There was nothing new about them. Anyway, Germany simply doesn't matter very much save to Germans and those unfortunate enough to be invadable by them.  

This so-called cameralism

is eighteenth century. It means bureaucrats at Court trying to manage the realm of some Comic Opera Prince more economically so the guy wouldn't look like a fucking beggar compared to his royal cousins in England or Russia.  

and the strong local patriotism it engendered became a central inspiration for the emerging nation states

Nope. There was Tardean mimetics- that is all. Holland started to do well and was imitated. Ditto England, France etc. Spain wasn't imitated. It was a shit-show.  

As nation states developed from the eighteenth century onward they engaged in a protracted labor to make the elusive “people” appear in tangible forms:

very true. Kings would dig up their lawns hoping to find the elusive 'people'.  

in a shared history,

one which featured everybody fitting into the same pair of underpants 

in common sets of symbols emerging from everyday life (language, customs, religious life, etc.), clear boundaries, and not least, in rituals of death (punishment of traitors)

and defecation and micturation. Also sneezing and saying 'gesundheit mother fucker.'  

and sacrifice (death and heroism in war and service of the nation) reproducing the national community.

Which involves sex- right? 

As George Mosse has pointed out, this paved the way for a direct representation of the people in mass-spectacles

having sex- right? 

and the aestheticization of politics that characterized fascism.

Eva Braun used to shit on Adolf's chest while Mussolini operated the cine-camera.  

“The chaotic crowd of the ‘people’ became a mass-movement

bowel movement? Orgies could have that effect.  

which shared a belief in popular unity through a national mystique.

involving everybody squeezing into the same pair of underpants and then saying 'does our ass look fat in this'? 

The new politics provided an objectification of the general will” (Mosse 1975, 2).

No. A new Constitution did. Politics is separate from Jurisprudence.  

Popular sovereignty became increasingly synonymous with national sovereignty

unless the reverse happened.  

and the people was now produced as citizens

not produced, they were presented as some shite or other. 

of the nation-state and their “political love” for the nation produced in schools, in the army, through innumerable institutional and disciplinary practices, pedagogy, art, songs, war, and worship (Weber 1977).

I suppose talk of 'production' sounded vaguely Marxian just as talk of space sounded vaguely mathematical and talk of violence was code for 'why can't we all admit we want to be beaten and tied up and then shat upon by an obese one legged woman?'  

The system of sovereign territorial states that had come into being after the Westphalian peace in 1648 only came into its full flourish on the European continent in the nineteenth century.

Nonsense! Much of Europe was under ancient Empires which had nothing to do with Westphalia.  

Domination of the non-European world, the race for commerce and territory, was intrinsic to this formation of sovereignty,

It was irrelevant. Germany unified before it had any colonies.  

just as the colonial world provided an essential ground for the formation of dominant ideas of nation, morality, domesticity, culture, and religion in the Western Europe.

There is no evidence for this whatsoever. Dominant ideas of nation, morality, domesticity, culture and religion predate the Hebrew Bible.  

As Barry Hindess points out in this volume, vast colonial populations became integral to the international system of states as “noncitizen populations”;

fuck off! A brown dude from Bombay was a subject of the Queen-Emperor just as much as a white dude from Bristol. Either might be made a baronet or elected to Parliament.  

an illiberal and authoritarian parallel world whose subjects were permanently subordinated, serving as labor, soldiers and markets for proper and liberal European states.

Unless they weren't and lived large as Serene Highnesses enjoying sovereign immunity. 

Similarly, the colonial territories only enjoyed a quasi-sovereignty by virtue of being the appendices to the metropolitan states.

In British law, there was only one realm till 1953 when the Crown became divisible. Was Canada & Australia 'mere appendices'? Nobody would ask them for fear of getting their head punched in.  

As in the early modern period, the language of legality was the preferred expression of sovereign power of the nation-state.

Coz the language of flowers was considered a bit gay. 

“The people” began to acquire an altogether more stable, homogenized and orderly form as citizens were governed by law, and as states demanded primary and indivisible loyalties to the nation in return for a measure of rights.

This is silly. As technology improved and material standards of living went up, people began to look nicer all over the place. In places which were as poor as shit, the people didn't look 'homogenized and orderly' even if there were laws and rights and so forth. 

The twentieth-century history of the modern nation-state in the Western world revolved centrally around protracted struggles for recognition of citizenship rights to wider sections of the population— women, the working class, nonwhite individuals and communities, immigrants and so on—

not really. France gave women the vote in 1945. Some Swiss cantons waited till quite recently. So what? Nobody gives a shit. Lots of smart peeps are currently moving to Dubai. Do they give citizenship to the coolies who do all the menial work? Who actually gives a fuck? The people look orderly and homogenous coz they've got plenty of money.  

but also the granting of a wider and deeper set of rights and entitlements.

which are meaningless without effective remedies. 

In T. H. Marshall’s classical account, the notion of citizenship began with civil rights, for example, rights to property and to a fair trial in which proper individual citizens could claim habeas corpus (lit. the right to claim and present one’s body in front of a court),which curtailed the exercise of arbitrary state violence by defining the body of the citizen as an integral part of the sovereign body of “the people” and thus entitled to due process.

This is a just-so story like Coke's notion that the Common Law derived from Greek speaking Druids.  

The next phase was that of formal political rights to vote, to freedom of speech and assembly, in order to create political bodies representing the people and the nation; and the third phase was the social rights of the twentieth-century welfare states, in which citizenship meant access to an ever widening set of economic entitlements (Marshall 1977).

All of which is cool unless there is a fiscal cliff and an entitlements collapse. What matters is whether remedies are incentive compatible. If they aint, they will disappear.  

As is well known, this politics of recognition (Taylor 1994) has continued to expand and proliferate, now including the recognition of a large number of cultural, religious, and sexual minorities in still more countries in the world.

But pedophiles still keep getting to jail. The justice system isn't all bad.

As we will return to later, this is a complex process with many forms driven by internal political compulsions, by increasing flexibilization of citizenship rights across national boundaries, as well as an ever more powerful discourse of human rights that impel states to grant rights, or resist from repressive measures in order not to damage their international reputation and standing within an elusive but effective “international community.”

Which was busy slaughtering 1.3 million innocent Muslims in far off places. It is obvious we need more Gays in the Military if we we to keep killing brown peeps.  

In this “age of rights” (Bobbio 1996), it seemed possible, until very recently, to claim that the exercise of sovereignty in its arcane and violent forms was becoming a thing of the past, that sovereignty now finally rested with the citizens, at least in liberal democracies.

It is still possible to talk nonsense. But it may become less and less rewarding to do so.  

The world order after September 11, 2001, seems to belie this optimistic assumption, and it may be useful to revise the standard history of what Foucault somewhat reluctantly called “democratization of sovereignty.”

Useful things can't be done by useless tossers. Sad.  

The languages of legality have, he argued, “allowed a system of rights to be superimposed upon the mechanisms of discipline in such a way as to conceal its actual procedures—the element of domination inherent in its techniques—and to guarantee to everyone, by virtue of the sovereignty of the state, the exercise of his proper sovereign rights”

There are individual rights and there are sovereign immunities. Foucault was as stupid as shit. Also he didn't actually know French history as witness his witless remarks about the vase of Soissons.  

. The crucial point is that, today, sovereignty as embodied in citizens sharing territory and culture, and sharing the right to exclude and punish “strangers,” has become a political common sense, or what Derrida calls “ontotopology” that defines the political frontlines on immigration in Europe, on autochthony and belonging in Africa, on majoritarianism and nation in South Asia and so on.

I suppose this was before the war on terror so fucked up the MENA that Europe became unable to stem the tide of migration.  

In order to assess and understand the nature and effects of sovereign power in our contemporary world, one needs to disentangle the notion of sovereign power from the state

so as to be left with paranoid nonsense. 

and to take a closer look at its constituent parts: on the one hand, the elusive “secret” of sovereignty as a selfborn, excessive, and violent will to rule;

That's not the secret of sovereignty. It is the secret of an evil tyrant whose misfortune it is to be a turd in the large intestine of a soon to be shitter. 

on the other hand, the human body and the irrepressible fact of “bare life” as the site upon which sovereign violence always inscribes itself but also encounters the most stubborn resistance.

unless sovereign power is too busy killing Muslims in far away deserts or mountains. Still, now we have lost the war on terror, we can only hope that some nice sovereign power is using a rusty nail to inscribe all sorts of pithy apothegms on the bare skin of these two cretins. 

Sovereign Bodies: Violence, Law, and Bio-politics It was Foucault’s Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison that

most nakedly revealed to us that the man was a maniac. His big complaint was that the polity had not followed the path blazed by Giles de Retz and the Marquis de Sade. Instead, there was neo-liberalism.  

more than any other work brought questions of the body to the center stage of contemporary understandings of power.

Previously, people thought that torture and incarceration and anal rape in penitentiaries was inflicted on piggy-banks, not people.  

The first chapter analyzes how the bodies of the condemned in their vulnerability mark “the symmetrical, inverted figure of the king” (Foucault 1977, 29),

unless, like Condorcet, they have the sense to top themselves. But there was no King when Condorcet took the easy way out.  

of the surplus power or excess that, as we saw above, is the mark of sovereign power.

It is nothing of the sort. Sovereign power rather waxed than waned when it got rid of cruel and unusual punishment. Any crazy fucker can take his time carving up anyone he has condemned.  

Analyzing how public torture and executions in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries were carefully arranged to symbolically punish the limb that “committed the crime,” often executing people at the scene of the crime, Foucault argues

in between furious bouts of masturbation 

that, “Its aim is not so much to reestablish balance as to bring into play, as its extreme point, the dissymmetry between the subject who has dared to violate the law and the all powerful sovereign who displays his strength [. . .] the punishment is carried out in such a way as to give a spectacle not of measure, but of imbalance and excess”

Very true. Foucault jizzed copiously but then lost his balance and fell down thus breaking his stink bone. Sad.  

The body of the criminal, naked and humiliated

and, but for the grace of God, dripping with Foucault's cum  

was, in other words, the necessary double of sovereign power,

only so Foucault could get hard and jizz again 

its necessary surface of inscription.

My jizz will turn into hydrochloric acid! It will burn the name of Satan on your blushing cheeks, Justine! Ha ha ha ha ha! 

The tortured body transformed itself into something else, an object of collective projections

of Foucault's jizz which had been turned to hydrochloric acid! Meanwhile, if only neo-liberalism would fuck off, the sovereign power of the people might very kindly insert some nice fetishes stolen from the Anthropology Dept. up Blom's bum-hole. 

of the plebeian crowd whose presence was essential to these performances of sovereignty.

Rough trade isn't enough. The voyeurs too must be rough.  

To some spectators,

jizzing excessively 

the tortured body, purged of the evil at the moment of death,

which evil? I suppose the dude means tortured bodies shit themselves. It's that little extra touch Foucault insisted on. His was a rare and discerning palate. 

became pure and almost sacred, as the sheer stubbornness of life in the bodies that refused to die became a counterpoint to royal might.

I suppose our two authors were taking turns shitting on each other as they wrote this. One can almost hear their Nordic cries of doctrinaire lust.  

The condemned sometimes became popular heroes, symbols of the injustices of the sovereign, and in many cases ineffective executioners were attacked by crowds, prisoners freed, or the dead bodies of the condemned taken care of and given a decent burial by insurgent crowds. Foucault notes that these “disturbances around the scaffold” provided an important impetus to the rethinking of the system of prisons and punishments from the eighteenth century onward.

Not very much 'rethinking' was needed to do the ghastly business inside the prison.  

Another motive driving the invention of the modern prison and correctional system was that the arbitrariness, the “archaic arrogance [. . .] exaggerations and loopholes” of the “super-powers of the monarch” allowed for a certain “right to illegality” at all levels of society (80) that accorded even the lowest strata a “space of tolerance” that was readily and obstinately defended.

There were medieval 'liberties' the last of which in England are the Inner and Middle Temple but there were also royally designated sanctuaries. It was not convenient for these to altogether disappear.  I suppose there is a 'right to illegality' in places where the criminal element is concentrated. But this is true of countries where there are no monarchs or ones where they are mere figureheads. 

These two forms of excess, spectacular and arbitrary royal sovereignty,

e.g. that of eighteenth century Tzars 

and the “infra-power of acquired and tolerated illegalities” of the common people

which didn't exist in Russia where serfdom was introuduced.

came together in their most dangerous and unpredictable form around the spectacles of public executions (89).

Peter the Great introduced such spectacles after seeing them in Western Europe. The practice was discontinued after his death. Foucault, being ignorant of history, was talking bollocks. Also the was as crazy as a bedbug. 

The reaction was, as is well known from Foucault’s subsequent work, the invention of modern prison system that concealed sovereign violence within thick walls,

No. It concealed people behind walls. That is what buildings do- unless they are made of glass. But prisons have existed for thousands of years. Joseph, in the Bible, was thrown in prison. This does not mean Pharaoh was laughing maniacally as he shoved pineapples up Joseph's bum. No fucking sovereign violence occurs in prison. If you get beaten of shanked or raped, no sovereign power is involved.  

made the condemned into “the property of society, the object of collective and useful appropriation”.

Foucault drooled incessantly at the thought of all the delicious torture that sovereigns must be getting up to behind the thick walls of prison. The man was a lunatic.  

In the penitentiaries the criminals were supposed to exercise penance and cleanse their souls but, more important, to subject their bodies to a range of new correctional disciplines that unlike the marks of sovereign power left by torture, left “traces, in the form of habits, in behavior”.

When Foucault started school, he noticed that some kids had a habit of turning up looking well scrubbed and neatly dressed. They were not bleeding copiously from the rectum and the word 'Satan' had not been inscribed on their cheeks with hydrochloric acid. This made Foucault very sad. He consoled himself with the thought that these kids may indeed have been tortured in some refined, but utterly horrific, manner such that though they bore no scars or suppurating wounds, nevertheless 'habits' had been inscribed upon them by some crazy sovereign who was laughing maniacally. 

This was in Foucault’s view a set of political technologies of the body

e.g. shitting 

whose functioning through minute and pedantic disciplines

toilet training? 

were fundamentally different from the archaic forms of sovereign power.

which involved shitting all over the place

This new political anatomy and its dispersed effects on individual bodies were, Foucault argued “absolutely incompatible with the relations of sovereignty,” which always “encompasses the totality of the social body” (Foucault 1994, 218) and expresses itself through a language of law and legal codification.

and shitting 

It seems, however, that some of the manifestations of what Foucault saw as an archaic exchange between sovereign power and the simple life of condemned bodies are still very much with us. Prison revolts or, even more effectively, hunger strikes among prisoners are often used to great symbolic effect. Not unlike the sacralization and purity of the dying or tortured body on the scaffold, the emaciated body and the suffering of the hunger-striking prisoner destroying his/her own body, transforms the prisoner from a criminal to an almost sublime and purified figure. Allen Feldman provides another striking example of this in his analysis of the “Dirty Protest” among IRA prisoners who refused to wash their bodies or wear clean clothes.

They smeared their cells with their own excrement. Shitting, it seems, is what 'Sovereign bodies' do. But this also true of the UN.  

Through this use, if not suspension, of their own bodies initiated a broad and powerful protest against the prison authorities that only consolidated their moral leadership among inmates as well as outside the prison walls

Bobby Sands was elected an MP while on the hunger strike that killed him. 

There are other examples of similar uses of the body that defies disciplinary power and challenges more conventional manifestations of sovereign violence:

pissing? Is that we are talking about 

the civil disobedience campaigner who willingly submits his/her body to be beaten and put in prison and thus renders state power both excessively brutal and strangely impotent at the same time;

unless, as happened in the case of the Maha-crackpot- state power simply increases because the nutters are forming a nice orderly line to get beaten on the head and then carted off to jail 

or the more extreme case of the suicide bombers, whose determination to die make them manifestations of a sovereignty of will and of the individual body.

but only to the same extent that a determination not to die is a manifestation of the imperium of the id or the parliamentarianism of the passions or the theocracy of thought 

Like other manifestations of sovereignty,

or sovereignty of manifestations  

such display of will,

or wills of display

sacrifice and disregard of death

or death of sacrifice as disregard 

appear both frightening and awe-inspiring

and pissy and shitty 

as it thematizes the almost sacred character of life itself.

or sacralizes the life of characterplogical themes themselves.  

Even in situations of total control,

but also in controls of situational totals 

exception from legality,

and legality from exception 

and psychological humiliation,

and the humiliation of the psychological 

as in the camps at Guantanamo Bay,

or the bays of the camp at Guantanamo

it is imperative to keep the bodies of the prisoners alive and in good health

or to simply not give a fuck 

in order not to be seen to violate the ultimate—biological life itself.

or in disorder to be violated by the ultimately seen- which is itself life as but logical bios.  

The “secret” of sovereignty seems,

the sovereignty of what seems as its own apotheosis as secret 

in other words, still to be defined in the tension between the will to arbitrary violence

shoving pineapples up your bum 

and the existence of bodies that can be killed but also can resist sovereign power,

in the sense that dying is a type of resistance to doing what you are told 

if nothing else by the mere fact of the simple life force they contain.

or the forced life of the simple they fact as mere.  

If sovereign power originates in excessive and exceptional violence

pigs are flying around shitting on your head 

that wants nothing or sees nothing beyond its own benefit or pleasure, its object, but also its ultimate resistance, is found in the simple life of bodies that desires nothing beyond itself and the simple moments of pleasure of everyday life.

Very true. King is torturing and raping virgins all the time. Why am I not allowed to watch? Is it due to neoliberalism? Fuck you neoliberalism! Fuck you very much! 

This fundamental embeddedness of sovereignty in the body was at the center of Georges Bataille’s exploration of the concept and its meaning in the modern world. To Bataille,

not having your dick nailed to your bench while an obese one legged woman shits on you was like totes Fascist- but not in a good way. 

sovereignty is not merely an archaic form of power and subordination but articulated more fundamentally in attitudes, or acts, beyond the realm of utility and calculation. “Life beyond utility is the domain of sovereignty” 

but only because sovereignty of domain is the beyond which constitutes utility as its own catachresis while a one legged obese woman shits on you- provided, of course, that you dick has been nailed to a bench.  

Sovereign enjoyment is excessive and beyond the needs of those enjoying.

Did the one legged obese woman have to quote Racine as she shat on you? Yes. Sovereign enjoyment is like that only.  

A sovereign command does not calculate minutely what it wants, but inadvertently reproduces obedience qua its very gesture of disregard of danger and death.

Positive law- which is sovereign command- does not produce or reproduce obedience. Calculations- which may be minute- of cost and benefit do so.  

Sovereignty resides in every human being

only in the sense that every human resides in sovereign being while an obese one legged woman shits on it.  

and shows itself in the desire to enjoy and revel in brief moments of careless freedom, in sexual ecstasy,

e.g. your dick being nailed to a bench 

in moments of simple nonanticipatory existence,

e.g. when an obese one legged woman shits on you 

when an individual experiences “the miraculous sensation of having the world at his disposal”

after an obese one legged woman has shat on you 

This was the original condition of man in “his non-alienated condition [. . .] but what is within him has a destructive violence, for example the violence of death”

Did you hear? One legged obese woman is dead. Who will now shit on Bataille?  

A part of Bataille’s essay anticipates Foucault’s work by arguing that modern bourgeois society, and communism with even more determination, have striven to eradicate the wastefulness, irrationality and arbitrariness at the heart of sovereignty:

or the sovereignty at the heart of the spectacle of the obese one legged woman shitting on Bataille 

both as a mode of power,

or the power of the mode as the thematization of its own catachresis as the being shat upon by an obese one legged woman 

as a mode of subordination driven by the subject’s projection of their own desire onto the spectacle of wasteful luxury of the court and the king,

Fuck you king! How come you are keeping all the shitting, one legged, obese women to yourself? Oh. Its so us proles can project our own desires onto the catachresis of the syzygy of the thematization of the being of sovereignty as the becoming of violence and everybody dick getting nailed to a bench- right? 

and as a space for arbitrary and spontaneous experiences of freedom and suspension of duties. The essence of Bataille’s proposition is that because the exercise of sovereignty is linked to death,

as is the exercise of eating nothing but your own shit 

excessive expenditure (depenser) and bodily pleasure can neither be contained by any discipline, nor be fully “democratized” into an equal dignity of all men.

or men as the all of a dignity without equality save by the salvific grace of the catachresis of the constipated one legged obese woman.  

Because sovereignty revolves around death,

or because death is the sovereignty around which it itself revolves

the ultimate form of expenditure beyond utility,

i.e. the most wasteful type of expenditure 

it constitutes in Mbembe’s words an “antieconomy” 

or anti-economises Mbembe's constitution such that he shits like a one legged, obese, woman.  

To Bataille, sovereignty has no positive existence

in the same sense to existence Bataille is the sovereignty without positivity of the law of eternal return 

but is a miracle intrinsic to human existence

or the human as the existence of what is intrinsic to the miracle 

and can only be determined

or be determined only as a can can 

through what he calls a “negative theology”

as opposed to what negative theology calls him- which is a word which would rhymes with 'cunt' if it weren't actually 'cunt'. 

that captures the “miraculous moments”

and sells them on Ebay 

in which sovereignty is experienced: in the awe of the leader or the king, in the disregard of death, of timidity, of prohibitions.

Very true. People feel awe when they meet Joe Biden. They disregard death and boldly fart in his face.  

Because sovereignty

I think these guys mean urine 

flows from the assertion of a basic life force that foregrounds the body and the senses rather than the intellect, it is ultimately connected with the will to take life, and to give up one’s life but not in a calculated and rational fashion.

People often piss themselves when they realize their life is about to be taken. There is nothing calculated or rational about this.  

Sovereignty is the opposite of “faintheartedness”

in so far as 'opposite' is the faintheartedness of a Sovereignty that flees its own univocity 

and Bataille writes: “Killing is not the only way to regain sovereign life,

you could watch Netflix and chill instead 

but sovereignty is always linked to a denial of the sentiments that death controls”

NO!  Sovereignty is never linked to anything except the control of the death of the sentiment of its own denial by whatever it is linked to except on Tuesday morning when it does Pilates. Well, it doesn't really do Pilates but keeps meaning to. Okay, okay, it doesn't know what Pilates is or why anybody would want to do it. Still, it's the sort of thing you like to drop into a conversation just so peeps think you've got a life.  

In Bataille’s view, the divine is the ultimate sovereign phenomenon,

whereas Divine's view is that phenomena are the ultimate Bataille or super-sovereignty of the banal or some other such shite emerging from the anus of a one legged, obese, woman. 

organized around an unknowable but indivisible void, a “deep unity of NOTHING”  that only can be known through its effects, the enchantment it generates, the imagination it fires and the objects it sacralizes.

in which case it aint unknowable. Steven Hawking won't shut up about all the cool things he discovered about black holes.  

To Bataille, the mystery of sovereignty has an irrevocably archaic quality, an “animality that we perceive in sovereignty”

or anything else 

whose reappearance as various forms of irrational excess upsets and disturbs the ideals of equality and reciprocity forged in modern bourgeois societies (and those under communism).

these guys were very disturbed- that's true enough.  

Echoing Mauss’s notion of gift-giving as an inherently unequal form of reciprocity because the giver always retains more than he/she gives,

But Mauss was simply wrong about the Vedic yagynya.  

Bataille argues that “the universal aspiration of the sovereignty of the gift giver”

whereas actually aspiration is the universal of the giver as sovereignty's gift to itself for actually going to Pilates on a Tuesday except it couldn't be arsed coz fuck Pilates- right?  

, that is, the desire to impress, assert and dominate through excessive expenditure inevitably presents a problem for the bourgeois sense of “proportionality” 

any desire or expenditure taken to excess presents the same problem.  

The generative link between violence and the sacred in the act of sacrifice

doesn't exist. Hindus do puja with flowers or butter or parched grain instead of chopping off the heads of various animals 

is well known in the anthropology and sociology of religion from Durkheim to Otto but received its most exhaustive and philosophically inflected treatment in the work of Rene Girard

A Proust scholar. Sadly, his crazy theory is only plausible to spoiled Catholics or guys who actually nominate and kill scapegoats. 

( Bataille tried to understand sovereignty as a common denominator for what we may call the “gift of power”—

though sovereignty is wholly independent of power. Authority does not mean the same thing as threat potential. An elderly Mum may have authority over her hooligan sons though she has no coercive power over them.  

the mystery of the will to power of certain individuals, the charisma that violence, selfishness, and ruthlessness generate—

A President who refuses clemency to some charismatic gangster represents sovereign authority even if, as in India, the President is a ceremonial figurehead.  

and he identified its origins in elementary life force that expresses itself in extraordinary actions and moments.

Which has nothing to do with the highly respectable and cultured persona of actual Heads of State.  

For all its subtle insights, it is not surprising that Bataille’s work has been accused of rearticulating themes in the philosophical “vitalism”— from Nietzsche’s ideas of the willpower of a future superior being, Bergson’s biological ideas of the elan vital as an irrepressible life force, to Heidegger’s much deeper ontological reflections, and even Merleau Ponty’s writings on emotional and embodied intensities.

The thing is garbage. Some stupid cunts with crazy sexual kinks or paranoid fantasies may like that shite and pretend it represents 'philosophy' but the truth is obvious. This is stupid shite recycled by cretins.  

But, unlike these writers, Bataille shifted the emphasis from searching for the sources of the will to understanding will as an effect that is deducted from violence and other sovereign acts.

There are people who gloat over descriptions of horrific gang-rapes and who have a hero-worship of sadistic killers. But the deductions they make about the nature of the will are evil and stupid.  

However, on the whole, vitalist thinking had a troubled and ambiguous relationship with rightwing politics and critiques of modernity throughout the twentieth century.

Only in the sense that smelly shit has a troubled and ambiguous relationship with stinking turds.

The crux of this problem lies in Bataille’s somewhat impoverished analysis of modern bourgeois society as governed by lifeless, disciplinary and commercial logics, and his view of sovereignty, the sacred, and the elementary forces of life as residues of an archaic age.

The guy was a nutter. He started up a group whose aim was to get together and chop off the head of one their members. But all wanted to be the victim. None would be the executioner.  I suppose Hansen and the other Nordic nutter who wrote this shite started off wanting to understand the primitive mind. But Anthropologists have the most primitive minds anywhere. Worse, they have become sub-human. There can be no anthropology of anthropology for this reason. There is merely this ethology of coprophagous swine. 

Friday, 27 January 2023

Ravinder Kaur lays another egg.

Some stupid people from India teach worthless shite in foreign Universities. They are obliged to publish ungrammatical nonsense from time to time simply so as to prove that brown monkeys need affirmative action in academia because otherwise they might feed exclusively on their own feces. 

The following is an excerpt published in 'The Despatch' from a book titled “The People of India: New Indian Politics in the 21st Century” edited by Ravinder Kaur and Nayanika Mathur. Its blurb reads ‘The People’ and ‘New India’ are terms that are being invoked freely to both understand and govern India as she enters her 75th year of post-colonial nationhood.

This is false. Nobody is talking about the 'People' though the term 'Janata' does feature in BJP and Kejriwal heads a party called the 'Common Man party'. The fact is, talk of the People faded out in the late Seventies. As for 'New India', it is wholly an invention of the cretinous Copenhagen Kaur who published a book with that title a couple of years ago. Nobody actually uses any such collocation. It sounds too much like 'India Shining'

 Yet, there is little clarity on who these people of India really are, 

Nonsense! People living in India are the people of India. 

what they do, their desires, histories and attachments to India.

Fuck off! There is money to be made and power to be wielded by finding out such things. Ask Prashant Kishore. 

 In this book, some of the most respected scholars of South Asia 

useless, virtually illiterate, tossers

come together to write about a person or a concept that holds particular sway in the politics of contemporary India.

There is no chapter on Modi. These tossers have simply recycled their own vomit. Yengde writes about Ambedkar. Facile Devji writes about Gandhi, the nutter Blom Hansen spews hate against Hinduism and so on and so forth. 

 In doing so, they collectively open up an original understanding of what the politics at the heart of New India are-and how best we might come to analyse them.

No. This is warmed up sick. 

A core feature of the New Indian Politics is how the will of the people is articulated as much via street politics

which was happening a hundred years ago in more acute form 

as the formal political party system.

No. The formal political party system is important. Things like the farmers' protest were not important. It was Kejriwal who gained in Punjab while, unexpectedly, Yogi did well in Jat dominated districts of Western UP. 

These popular protest movements have arisen in the face of a strong centralized state,

Nonsense! The farmers' protest was spearheaded by Tikait's son. Like Daddy's, the thing looked impressive but ended as something of a fiasco. Charan Singh's grandson doesn't seem to have profited by it any more than Charan Singh's gained by the big farmer's protest forty years ago. The anti CAA protests seem to have harmed Congress and the Left. Kejriwal benefitted in Delhi but so did the BJP. 

The fact is popular protest movement- e.g. that of Anna Hazare- are either inconsequential or benefit an existing or new party. Mamta benefitted by the anti-Nandigram/ Singur protests and is still in power.  But the people of Singur seem disgruntled. 

characteristically in the absence of an effective opposition that would articulate grievances.

There is no effective opposition in some States- e.g Naveen's Orissa, Mamta's Bengal, Stalin's Tamil Nadu. The problem is that there is no plausible rival to Modi at the Center. 

What sets these protests apart is also how they brought new political figures to the centre stage,

Kejriwal founded his party over a decade ago. Since then, which 'new figure' has there been? Kanhaiya is a Congress chamcha. Hardik is with the BJP. Jignesh is unhappy but still with Congress. On the other hand, Owaisi gets a lot of coverage. But he is not associated with any 'protest'.  

and mobilized religious minorities and marginalized people in new coalitions.

What fucking coalitions? Shaheen Bagh led to Congress and the Left being wiped out. Delhi is now a two horse race.  

Equally noteworthy is how the media, forever in search of a single charismatic leader, often described the protests as ‘leaderless’, thereby overlooking the work of collective leadership in running protests.

But if this 'collective leadership' is confined only to the protest at hand then there is no political leadership of it.  

It is on this uncertain turf between the street and the political parties and between the modes of exclusion and inclusion that a diverse people of New India have emerged.

Where were they previously? Hiding in holes in the ground?  

But we are getting ahead of ourselves.

No. You are getting more retarded than when you started off.  

Let us return to the farm laws and their repeal to further consider New Indian Politics.

Why bother? We know the outcome. Kejriwal scooped the pot. Few saw that coming.  

That the repeal signalled an unsettling political terrain in Indian politics was evident from the social media trends that gained instant popular traction.

Guys who live in Copenhagen may bother with social media trends. Everybody else just asks the Sardarji who runs the local offie.

If the trend #farmlawsrepealed signalled a plain fact, often a joyous one, then #disappointed captured the state of disenchantment of Modi supporters (dubbed bhakt) as well as the business policy elite who had long made a case for market-friendly ‘deep reforms’ in the farm sector.

This is foolish. A quick google showed that the farm law didn't matter. Procurement patterns were changing. States were welcome to subsidize their own farmers- but then they'd go off the fiscal cliff. Can Kejriwal square the circle by making money off rezoning so as to pay off the farmers? We will have to wait and see. 

The passionate response #disappointed was not just about the failure to implement market reforms by a leader who had crafted his image as someone who ‘means business’ in more ways than one.

But nobody was really disappointed. Congress got wiped out in Punjab. Yogi did well in Western UP. Modi had made the right call. Anyway, the 'people' like a leader who takes risks but who apologizes when they don't pay off.  

It was also a public expression of disillusionment, the breaking of a spell that had bound the followers to a strongman leader who held out the promise of capitalist growth and the attendant civilizational glory.

Bullshit! Modi isn't Manmohan or Montek. He is Mr. Governance but governance isn't about a dash for growth. It is, rather, a slow and steady pursuit of integrity and efficiency. More to the point, Modi looks like a surefire three term PM. Bakhts are satisfied. 

Some tried to repair the broken spell by recuperating the repeal as a political #masterstroke, a kind of cunning move (Chanakya Niti) whose true intent and effect had not yet been revealed.

So what? Anybody can tweet. I used to till I got my 'permanent ban' badge of honor.  

Others rued the ‘street veto’ that had cast a shadow on Indian democracy. This anxiety was especially evident in the primetime television debates where the anchors pitted street protests as a challenge to the ‘might of the ballot’, one that threatened to undermine the power of the parliament.

But that anxiety faded long ago. Why focus on effervescent shite on Social Media generated, more often than not, by diaspora cretins like me?

It indeed isn’t easy to make sense of this strange turn of events.

It's easy enough for the rest of us. The Sikh diaspora sent a lot of money to finance the farmer's protests. Then Kejriwal scooped the pot and they felt silly. A Bania had outwitted the Jat. The fact that the new CM was a drunken clown rubbed salt in the wound.  

After all, the repeal was a dramatic about-turn the followers of Modi had least expected, and that too a reversal staged in the full glare of global publicity.

Not really. What mattered was UP. The BJP had shat the bed in Punjab and deserved to lose there. But without Yogi as CM in UP there is no line of succession. Sooner or later, Modi becomes a lame duck- like Nitish.  

It seemed to have upset all that had come to be regarded as politics-as-usual in a post-2014 New India.

Nonsense! Procurement will keep shifting to Eastern UP, Madhya Pradesh, etc. Punjab will be left to grapple with its own fiscal crisis.  

Some speculated that the repeal was a calculated move made by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as it was sensing a loss of ground in states such as Punjab and Uttar Pradesh, which were coming up for state elections.

Punjab was a write-off. The one good thing is that the BJP has shaken off the Badals. Kejriwal is in a better position to do reform because there is no AAM Trade Union or Farmers Wing. The BJP's hands are tied by its past. 

While this electoral arithmetic has to be taken seriously, especially given the cynical politics of the BJP and its government, which is forever and only in ‘election-mode’,

India is a big country. There is always an election campaign in some State.  

it would be simplistic to believe that this calculation was the sole guiding factor.

All decisions made by responsible people involve a calculation of costs and benefits.  

This moment of rupture not only disclosed the highly charged affective fault lines in the political landscape

The BJP has its own farm wing which wasn't happy. This affective fault line existed in all older parties. 

but also laid bare new fields of conflict and cracks in the visage of power that had hitherto been deemed invincible.

Nothing of the sort occurred. The big question was whether there would be Jat consolidation and how big a role would go to Tikait and Ajith Singh's son.  

Most of all, it made visible the diverse people who inhabit this landscape of politics, the many agents of politics forged in the new antagonisms of post-liberalization India.

Not really. For older people, there was a sense of deja vu.  

As the farmers’ protests refused to dwindle and, instead, new outposts of it popped up in different parts of India, we heard many ask: ‘But who are these people?’

The answer tended to be 'grandson or great nephew of such and such guy who had once commanded headlines. What nobody saw coming was the cunning Bania, Kejriwal, scooping the pot.  

This question was not altogether new. Similar rhetorical questions had been posed of the myriad protesters who came out against the evil trinity of the CAA–NPR–NRC over 2019,

It was the Supreme Court which had set all that in motion. The CAA, like the Farm Bill, didn't really mean very much. But the anti-CAA agitation helped the BJP. Muslims were saying they didn't want Kaffirs to gain security from Islamic persecution even though this had been the law since 1948.  

before the toxic mix of the authoritarian state, a pogrom in Delhi

Congress conducted two pogroms in Delhi- one against Muslims in 47 and one against Sikhs in 1984. There was no pogrom under Kejriwal though some Muslim AAM politicians did run amok. But, in a new party, that is excusable. Kejriwal quickly distanced himself from the nutters.  

and the pandemic shut down these protests. Similar questions had been asked then too: ‘Who are these people?’

The answer was elderly fools or student activists or other such cretins.  

Tellingly, Modi had dubbed them andolanjeevis or those who live— parasitically it was assumed—off protest movements.

That label stuck. Protests can succeed if they are about money. People understand that money matters. Protests fail if they are merely 'woke' or involve virtue signaling.  

The subtext was apparent: those who protested against the government were subverting the national interest, even tarnishing the image of the government and the nation on the world stage.

Unless what motivated them was money. The farm protests were like the yellow vest protests. Fiscal policy matters. Fantasies about Fascism don't.  

In this scheme of things, the government and the nation were inseparable,

coz the President of America would feel silly if he tries run the Government from the bottom of the Indian Ocean seabed. 

and any opposition to the government was taken as an opposition to the nation.

but some opposition to government was explicitly so. 

Andolanjeevis was the 2021 edition of the category of ‘anti-nationals’, a scornful term popularized by Modi government supporters to accuse dissenters of treachery.

Mrs Gandhi's minion, Buta Singh, was more explicit. He called various Gandhian organizations CIA fronts bent on destroying the country. But then, under Manmohan, there was the canard that 'Hindu Terrorism' was a big threat to India.  

It’s a theme that appears to be inexhaustible, reappearing in ever new forms. The most recent iteration was the identification of activists and the civil society as the ‘new frontier of war’, the enemy within the nation—a war that required techniques of ‘fourth-generation warfare’ to be deployed against those citizens who oppose the government.

But it was Manmohan who targeted not just Naxals but even Christians protesting against Nuclear Plants and other such people as anti-national entities or a Trojan Horse funded by foreign NGOs to damage the Indian economy. But these ideas have a long history in the Indian National Security establishment. Don't forget, even after the 1962 War, there were plenty of nutters at Presidency College, Calcutta, who were shouting 'China's Chairman is our Chairman.' 


What we witness here is an unsettling, and unsettled, terrain of the new Indian politics and the many people who forge it.

We have been witnessing this continually in every decade for a hundred years.  

Three key features of these new antagonisms can be identified.

These cretins can't identify shit.  

First, the politics of protest has become the staging ground for conflicts between the state and a diverse range of peoples,

Where? Kerala? The Church and the fishermen are opposing a Communist CM intent on Deng Xiaoping like growth. I can think of no other site of protest at the moment.  

and this especially when the opposition parties are weakened and faced with a dominant government at the centre and hyper-nationalist majoritarian politics.

This is nonsense. The opposition can win States- e.g. Himachal- or break up coalitions- e.g. Bihar. Politics is the art of the possible and in Indian politics, anything is possible. 

Second, the push towards centralized governance—

occurred under Nehru and was ratcheted up by Indira. But there has been increasing 'subsidiarity' since. The question is whether the Center can continue to redistribute money. This is particularly important in the context of seat redistribution in 2026. 

the ubiquitous ‘one’ model: one nation, one market, one tax, for example—

The creation of an internal market, if not fiscal harmonization, is an economic necessity. Sheikh Hasina might integrate Bangladesh into such a 'common market'.  

and an authoritarian style has created a strong state as well as frictions within the federal structure of the Indian union.

Not yet. The States were cushioned against the GST transition. What will happen now? I don't know. Nor do andolanjivis or academics from shite departments. The 2024 elections are very important because seat redistribution is supposed to happen in 2026. States which stand to lose need to stand together. Stalin needs to get over his fixation with Rajiv and get behind somebody electable. Why are people so complacent about this? I suppose we assume that the can will be kicked down the road. But why should it be? The BJP may lose its one foothold in the South and thus double down on the cow-belt. Why should they deny themselves more Parliamentary seats?

The signature style of Modi’s strongman politics is to conjure spectacles: sudden big-bang policy decisions, often announced on live television broadcasts.

Every country had 'big-bang' announcements re. COVID and so forth. Modi is in fact a strong leader. So is Zelensky. That's a good thing. 

If the element of surprise keeps the public enthralled—or petrified, as the case maybe—and ensures undivided media coverage, it simultaneously upstages political opponents.

Why don't Prime Ministers piss themselves on TV? Instead of trying to upstage your opponent, why not take off all your clothes and stick a radish up your bum?  

This hegemonic control of the media

If you control something you are its hegemon. Gramscian hegemony, however, has nothing to do with control rights.  

is crucial in shaping the field of politics within, and against, which the popular protests have emerged

Nonsense! Popular protests differ from campaigns whipped up by Press Barons. Consider the 'Tea party movement'. It was 'astro-turf' not 'grass-roots'.  

Third, connected to this are the ideological moves to reset the nation as an enclosure of global capital aligned with Hindu nationalist culture.

Only Rahul mentions 'vichardhara' or ideology. That is because he- like the authors- is a fucking cretin.  

This ongoing capitalist-cultural shift is evident in a number of signature laws passed in the past two years

these silly people didn't update this to reflect the publication date.  

—from the revocation of the special status of Kashmir and CAA/NRC

it was the Bench which decided that J&K had no shred of sovereignty. Similarly it was the Bench which set up detention centers and ordered the compilation of the Nationality Register in Assam.  

to the farm laws and the labour code—that seek to open up new markets within the national territory even as the nation itself is rearranged in the framework of Hindu nationalism.

Hindu nationalism triumphed in 1947. India opened up to global markets in the 1990s. Why do these guys not know this? 

The shift was accelerated during the pandemic, a deployment of crisis-as-opportunity approach to draw investors looking for alternatives to China.

Not really. There was some talk, but talk was all it was. Some existing projects may have been accelerated- that is all. Vietnam, on the other hand, has done very well.  

The appearance of the people on the streets is more than an expression of dissatisfaction.

Where? Nowhere I can see. 

It is taking matters in one’s own hands or what was dubbed ‘street veto’, a political action akin to showing a red card

something the umpire does 

when the rules of the game are broken

and a player is sent of the field.  

or remade without due agreement.

Nonsense! The rules were set long ago by foreigners in some distant country. They don't depend on agreement. These guys know shit about sport

The term ‘street veto’,

has not gained currency. It doesn't exist. Governments withdraw laws if they think they will lose elections. Otherwise, if they think they will win, in Westminster style democracies, they dissolve Parliament and seek a fresh mandate.  

invoked following the repeal of the farm laws, was used to convey disapproval of both an unceasing out-of-control protest as well as the abject about-turn of the Modi government.

States which wanted to implement reform were welcome to do so. Procurement would continue to shift away from the places where protest was most intense.  

If at all, the criticism of street politics opened up an inherent paradox in mass democratic politics:

these guys can't reason worth a demand. Everything is a fucking paradox for them.  

the raw potentiality of crowds is at the heart of mass democratization,

Nope. Crowds only have any fucking political potential in big cities. But their actions aren't likely to lead to 'mass democratization' because then the rural masses- who are religious and conservative- gain the whip hand. The Paris Commune was crushed by young conscripts from the countryside.  

and yet it is only by imposing discipline and control that political energy can be harnessed.

Political energy means money and labor power. Harnessing them does not necessarily involve 'discipline' or 'control'. Forming a stable administration may do so but administrations don't harness power. That has already been done. Thus the new leader doesn't have to create an Army or Bureaucracy from scratch. He takes over what already exists.  

The democratic politics is renewed by subjects who are simultaneously active but also disciplined.

This is an ungrammatical and meaningless statement. Democratic politics features citizens some of whom are politically active. Discipline is not a sine qua non more particularly if an 'overlapping consensus' exists regarding what needs to be done.  

It is this kind of constant tension upon which many people, the figures of politics, emerge.

Again an ungrammatical and foolish sentence. The 'figures of politics' first must have economic and social existence. They may rise or fall politically. I suppose what these cretins mean is something like 'new political movements emerge in constant tension with some shite or the other' but such a statement simply isn't true. New political movements can emerge without any tension purely because of Tardean mimetics- i.e. imitating a superior- or because boring but ambitious people need an outlet for their urge to competitively bore the pants of everybody else.