Tuesday, 31 January 2023
Monday, 30 January 2023
Thomas Blom Hansen's ignorance of India
In a previous post, I drew attention to Thomas Blom Hansen's fascination with violence and his bizarre beliefs about sovereignty. In this post I examine a recent interview in which this nutjob seeks to explain his deep hatred of Hinduism. It turns out this is based on his belief that India was very nice and democratic till some nasty Hindus started a political party with the aim of constructing a Hindu temple. This is clearly very evil and wrong. Hansen has written a number of books deploring the existence of Hindus in India which, to be frank, is bound to lead to conflict and violence with those who disapprove of that horrible religion.
The following is extracted from 'the Nation'.
Not many academics have studied Hindu nationalism with the intensity of Stanford University anthropologist Thomas Blom Hansen.
No academics study Hindu nationalism, as opposed to Indian politics (which is the product of Hindu nationalism) though some Hindu nationalists are academics as are some Hindus who hate India and want it to crash and burn. But, since lots of money can be made and better outcomes for the country can be achieved by understanding Indian politics, academics who write about India- all being as stupid as shit- are the last people you should consult in this regard.
Among University Departments, the one which has experienced the sharpest decline in prestige is Anthropology. Back in the Seventies, it was said that Prince Charles himself might have chosen to study it at Uni. Indeed, Anthropology was cool during the Cold War when CIA agents needed a cover identity to hang out with head-hunting tribes who might provide an anti-Communist militia. Later, it just became a dumping ground for losers who were too drug addled to do Sociology.
The 63-year-old’s new book, The Law of Force: The Violent Heart of Indian Politics, argues that anger and brutality have become mainstream in public life and politics in India.
Whereas the West killed 1.3 million Muslims in a war of revenge which they lost. Anyway, there's far more anger and brutality on Hansen's doorstep in California.
The 176-page volume delves into what Hansen calls “the emergence of a decidedly non-liberal form democracy,”
There was never any liberal form of democracy in India. The Liberal Party died after securing the Mody-Lees agreement. What there was was dynastic rule.
which explains why police attacks against Muslims and lower-caste men and women go unpunished.
Police attacks go unpunished unless policemen get stabbed or shot by the people they are attacking. This guy has lived in America for many years. He didn't notice that there were plenty of police attacks on all sorts of folk- more particularly of the colored variety.
The Denmark-born scholar, who has written several books on nationalism in India,
the cunt keeps banging on about how Hindus are all secret Hitler worshippers.
told me that “the enjoyment of violence, the pleasures of hatred and vengeful fantasies, and the license to kill”
That's the stuff gets this cunt hard. But why does he have to come to India to find it? Much more of that shite exists on his doorstep. Hinduism is peaceful. America isn't. Islam isn't. So why zoom in on India?
are factors that contemporary India shares with Germany before World War II.
There you have it! Everything is about Hitler. These guys stroke themselves off while drooling over Nazi atrocities. There are plenty of White Supremacists in America. Why does this cunt not study them?
In his book, Hansen lays out the dangers of the rise Hindu nationalism,
It rose at the same time as Indian nationalism because Indian nationalism is Hindu nationalism.
explicitly comparing today’s adherents to the Nazis,
because that's what gets those cunts hard
who allowed their vigilantes and storm troopers to terrorize Jews, communists, and anyone else opposed to their agenda.
the Danes did okay under Hitler. Who knows? They may turn against their Muslim immigrants.
ULLEKH N.P.: Why did you write this book?
Because if you keep writing books about shit you know nothing about, people will understand that you are an Anthropologist.
THOMAS BLOM HANSEN: It was in some ways a reflection on decades of work in India.
Decades over which he learnt nothing and forgot nothing being content to simply repeat himself endlessly.
It was prompted by my experiences during a longer stay in 2017–18 where I was able to see up close the effects of decades of the BJP [the Bharatiya Janata Party, India’s ruling party]
which had helped overthrow Indira Gandhi's dictatorship
and other forces whipping up violent sentiments and making bigoted hate speech completely mainstream and acceptable.
Like Khalistanis, Naxals, Islamists, Ambedkarites, the DMK, and those whipping up hatred of the RSS.
UNP: When you met an activist of the RSS [Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the parent body of the BJP] in July 1989 in Pune, did it occur to you that this militant right-wing Hindu organization will over the next few decades become the most formidable electoral entity in the country through its political arm, the BJP?
But the RSS was considered crucial in bringing out the anti-Indira vote in 1977. What had given Congress a shot in the arm was Khalistani hatred of Hindus. Rajiv presided over a massacre of Sikhs in Delhi just as his grandfather had presided over a pogrom of Muslims when he took power. It seems that Hindus like those who 'teach a lesson' to those who kill them. But the West's 'War on Terror' was popular with Whites who were delighted to see bearded Muslims being Gitmoed or blown up by drones.
TBH: When I started my work, the BJP was taking its first steps into large-scale mass politics
This cunt doesn't get that the RSS and Jan Sangh had been prime movers in the Nav Nirman and Sampoorna Kranti mass agitations. Whatever fucking 'work' the cunt was doing, it did not involve learning anything about Indian politics.
with the Ayodhya campaign to “liberate the birthplace of Lord Ram” [a mythological Hindu king]. Most of the BJP activists at that time were not particularly adept at doing this kind of mass politics and campaigning,
Nonsense! People like Modi had cut their teeth on Nav Nirman and the anti-Emergency underground movement. The VHP had done Ekatyata Yatras in the early Eighties which honed the techniques later used in the Rath Yatra. This cunt is totally ignorant of Indian politics.
and they were frankly surprised by their sudden success, becoming the second-largest party in the country.
With 102 out of 345 seats, Jan Sangh was the biggest single constituent of the 1977 Janata Coalition which is why the RSS's Nanaji Deshmukh was offered the Deputy Prime Ministership. Janata fell apart on 'dual membership' of the RSS. Ultimately, the Janata Parivar had to take second place to the Sangh Parivar because it couldn't produce a Prime Minister who wouldn't be immediately stabbed in the back by his own adherents.
What many of them did learn was that if they harnessed the resentment of Muslims in the right way, it could become their most powerful political resource.
But Congress had always been the party which slaughtered Muslims or Sikhs or Commies if they fucked with Hindus. In the Indian hierarchy, Congress was 'Brahmin'. The Jan Sangh was 'Bania'- trader caste.
It was very foolish of UPA I and its presstitutes and darbari intellectuals to build up Modi as the Hindu Hitler because, by doing so, Congress gave up its traditional role as the muscular arm of high caste Hindu society. Worse, it began to be seen as anti-Hindu.
But it was when Modi, in 2014, decided to take over Congress’s agenda of economic reforms
which were Chandrashekhar's agenda before they were Rao's and which Vajpayee had been carrying forward.
This cretin is entirely ignorant of Indian politics and society.
as well as many of the welfare policies that had been crafted that many felt that now BJP was finally a moderate party of vikas/development and not just cultural/religious concerns.
That is what it had always been because that is what Hindus want.
This paid off and the lack of an effective opposition
No. What was lacking was a credible alternative Prime Ministerial candidate because Rahul was shit and Manmohan had been cut off at the knees.
allowed Modi to establish himself as the all-dominant force in Indian politics,
he is still the only guy who is willing and able to do the top job. Gehlot bottled out.
something that emboldened the BJP to return to its true anti-Muslim and bigoted colors after the re-election of Modi and BJP in 2019 with an even bigger majority.
This is mere projection on the part of an ignorant racist. The fact is, if Hindus want ethnic cleansing they just go ahead and do it same as Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists etc. But Muslims simply don't matter enough for killing them to be a priority. In any case, they are sober and hard working and make very tasty biryani.
UNP: Hindu Nationalists fashion themselves as unifiers of all Hindus irrespective of caste.
No Hindu Nationalists want to unify all Indians whereas Hindu Swamys fashion themselves as unifiers of all, irrespective of nationality.
But why is it that we now see a marked rise in reported crimes against not only the minority Muslims but against lower castes?
Muslims and backward castes commit crimes against Dalits. But Dalits and Adivasis can revenge themselves on Muslims with support from the wider community. That is the equation we see.
Is the RSS upper caste at its core?
How would this fucker know?
TBH: The short answer is yes, but it is also true that the RSS has over many years incorporated many members of marginalized communities. However, these figures never rise significantly in the ranks of the RSS, but only in the violent outfits affiliated with the RSS or in electoral politics where BJP needs lower-caste faces in their campaigns. Like how Trumpism in the US made hate speech mainstream, Modi’s India has made hate speech and violent caste prejudice more respectable.
This is nothing but hate speech of an ignorant sort. Stanford University has made racism by Nordic nutters respectable. But, the fact is America's War on Terror killed 1.3 million Muslims and displaced tens of millions more. Hindu India has done nothing similar. Indeed, ethnic cleansing is confined to the Kashmir Valley where Hindus are the target.
UNP: You say in your book that today the Indian Constitution would not find favor in the two houses of Indian Parliament, where there are deep reservations among BJP members and allies about several elements of the Constitution.
Coz they want Modi to be the Fuhrer- right?
Why is it that their aspirations are often opposed to that text of democratic principles, citizens’ rights, and equality before law?
The BJP opposes dynasticism. The Indian Constitution did not envisage any such thing, yet that is what we have had.
TBH: First of all, the RSS was never part of the nationalist movement
No. The RSS developed out of the Anushilan movement and 'garam dal' of Pal, Bal, and Lal. Indeed, Hegdewar was first a member of Hardikar's Congress Seva Dal before he set up the 'non-political' RSS just in case the Seva Dal was banned.
This type of Hindu Nationalism had been rising from the 1880s onward. Ambedkar was against the nationalist movement because he believed he could get a better deal for his people from the Brits. Motilal and Jawaharlal were late to the party. But, being from the Hindi belt, their ire against the Brits was real enough. Their own family had to flee Delhi after 1857 even though they had become English speaking vakils to John Company
that culminated in independence
Independence came whether or not there was much of a nationalist movement. The culmination of Gandhi-Nehru politics was Partition.
and the 1950 adoption of what at the time was one of the most ambitious and inclusive democratic constitutions in the world.
Burma's Constitution which came out earlier was more Socialist. India's Constitution gives the center plenty of emergency powers. It could become a dictatorship at the drop of a hat and then the Constitution could be amended every which way.
Quite the contrary, the RSS was consistently skeptical of democracy.
Everybody was skeptical of it. Frank Anthony summarized the mood of the Constituent Assembly when he said 'if we have to have a Dictator, let it be Nehru'.
Its second leader praised the policies of Nazism;
Govind Vallabh Pant, as President of Congress, described Gandhi as the Fuhrer and Il Duce of India. Bose went the extra mile and allied with Hitler and Tojo. He was to the Left of Nehru.
a former RSS man killed Gandhi;
which is why Congress slaughtered Brahmins in Pune.
and at its founding in 1925, RSS adopted a uniform that was a carbon copy of that used by the colonial police forces.
Nope. It was a copy of the Congress Seva Dal uniform. Hegdewar was a Congress man like his pal Hardikar who had set up the Seva Dal a couple of years previously. Nehru joined it. The RSS was a provincial and 'apolitical' copy of the main Hindu organization.
In addition, the RSS is itself an avowedly nondemocratic institution.
Congress is wholly dynastic- just like the DMK and various Samajwadi and other outfits. Mamta has anointed her nephew as her successor.
It’s a self-appointed hierarchy of command without any representation of the views of its foot soldiers.
But it isn't dynastic is it?
It cherishes this military-style model of authority and discipline.
Only the military enjoys prestige in India precisely because it is disciplined. When there is an earthquake or other such disaster, the Army and the RSS turn up and do useful work. Other outfits may turn up but they are useless. Kumarappa was a chartered accountant. He refused to pay Gandhi's acolytes for their supposed relief work in Bihar because those nutters were useless. That was back in the Thirties.
UNP: How ironic then is Mr. Modi praying before a copy of the Constitution of India in Parliament after he won the 2019 elections?
It is entirely appropriate for the Head of Government to show veneration to the Constitution. It is ironic that these cunts use this gesture as a stick to beat the ruling party with.
We may as well say 'isn't it ironic that Hansen writes long books about India but yet can never bring himself to say 'I fucking hate darkies. My wife is Sri Lankan. Believe me, I know whereof I speak.'
TBH: Very, but then Modi has emerged as quite the savvy politician who does what it takes to win.
But, he had already won! He could do what he liked for four years and only start courting popularity in his fifth year.
UNP: What do you think about the politics of the ruling party that often makes reverential statements about both Gandhi and BR Ambedkar, the key architect of the Indian Constitution?
The same as what we think of this cunt who can't get to moan about how fucking horrible brown peeps are.
TBH: It is a purely cynical calculation.
This cynic calculates that brown peeps won't call him on his racism or hold him to account for the crimes committed during the terroristic 'war on terror' if he keeps pretending he is against Hitlerism whereas the fact is he gets his rocks off by picturing Nazi torture dungeons.
The RSS began praising Gandhi in the 1970s
Nope. Deendayal Upadhyay's 'Integral Humanism'- the official ideology of the Jan Sangh- was Gandhian in terms of its emphasis on sarvodaya and swadeshi. The plain fact is that the trading castes were socially conservative and were more scared of 'Western' materialism and sexual license than of the puritanical types of Indian Socialism.
when they were riding on the back of a Gandhi-inspired movement that almost toppled the government.
Bhave was a Gandhian. He backed the Emergency. JP, Lohia, Kripalani etc. were Socialists. They turned against the Dynasty. The Jan Sangh allied with them rather than with Swatantra Party which favored free markets. After Rajaji's death, Swatantra members tended to join Charan Singh's Lok Dal. Ultimately, it was the Green Revolution which opened up a political space for economic liberalization. Only once enough voters had some actual money in their pockets does any enthusiasm for markets develop. But the first casualty of this, because of scale economies, could be the small trader.
In the 1980s, the BJP manifesto was devoted to “Gandhian socialism,”
Deendayal's ideology- but he died in 1968.
the flavor of political opposition of the day.
and the previous decade and the decade before that.
In the 1990s and 2000s after millions of brave Dalit activists finally succeeded in highlighting the seminal role of Ambedkar,
but they only succeeded in doing this because Congress 'Harijans' like Jagjivan Ram had vacated a political space they had dominated since the Thirties. Kanshi Ram and his protege Mayawati filled this vacuum. The original Ambedkarite 'Republican' parties had split innumerable times and so it was in Punjab and UP that the reputation of Ambedkar revived. Mayawati, in particular, showed that Ambedkar, already a Boddhisattva, could be turned into a popular Hindu God.
India’s foremost liberal and republican thinker, in the founding of the republic and its democracy, the BJP began to celebrate Ambedkar as a true Indian hero.
He had two Econ PhDs from top Western Universities, was a qualified barrister, and had opposed both Gandhi and Nehru. More importantly, he actually wanted to get rid of the caste system- which is what Religion requires.
The irony is almost comical in its display of bad faith: How can a
White racist get to shit on brown peeps without dragging Hitler into the matter?
Hindu supremacist organization embrace a Dalit man whose critique of Hinduism and the caste system is yet to be surpassed in its rigor, depth, and wisdom?
Mayawati turned that Boddhisattva into an incarnation of Vishnu receiving Hindu worship in a monumental religious complex funded by the UP tax-payer. But the RSS always had a soft spot for Ambedkar because he didn't convert to Islam or Christianity. Moreover, he insured that Muslim Dalits were stripped of affirmative action. (Christian Dalits had been excluded from such benefits by the Brits in 1935 itself).
Ambedkar and Mandal did think they could ally with the League but Mandal- who was Jinnah's Law Minister just as Ambedkar was Nehru's- had to come running back to India. Congress did have a 'Brahmin-Muslim-Harijan' strategy and some Harijans did well out of it, but the rise of 'Backward Castes' pushed them out into the cold. The Commies kept trying to use them as canon fodder so they were useless. The RSS, on the other hand, is a reliable ladder. Look at the media-savvy Jignesh Mevani's plight. His joining Congress was a feather in Rahul's cap. But Mevani was starved off resources for his election campaign and had to resort once again to crowd-funding. He kept his seat with a much reduced margin. But, since the BJP swept the polls, he will have little impact in his own state. Meanwhile, other lawyers with similar backgrounds are getting their first Ministerial portfolio in the BJP.
UNP: What are the things contemporary India has in common with pre-WWII Germany or Italy in regards to public violence, which, you state in your book, has entered the center stage of Indian public life?
West Bengal does have a lot of violence because of the legacy of Communist rule. Fascism and Nazism were a response to a clear and present Red Menace. Other States have their own criminalized politicians and vendettas. Punjab, obviously, has its own difficult history. Kashmir Valley will always remain on the boil. What about Assam? Will there be a repeat of Nellie? Who knows? But for the great mass of BJP ruled states, violence is falling, governance is improving. That's what Hindus want and where they are the overwhelming majority, that's what they get.
TBH: The short answer is the enjoyment of violence,
or this guy jizzing copiously as he contemplates it
the pleasures of hatred and vengeful fantasies, and the license to kill—by which I mean the unmistakable message from all levels of government and police powers that if you, as a Hindu, kill a Muslim, you will not really be punished.
Unless you are. But this is also true of Muslims who kill non-Muslims in non-Muslim areas.
That was what happened to Jews in Europe; they became fair game.
Because Jews come from Asia. Northern Europeans, like this cunt, are very fucking racist.
UNP: How justified is this aggression—what you call “forceful anger” against historical humiliation of Hindus? Such sentiments were in full display in a progressive state like Kerala where Hindutva elements and political opportunists managed to invalidate a court verdict that lifted a ban on young women of menstruating age entering a temple.
But Hindu women of that age didn't want to make the tedious pilgrimage there. Only some atheistic women turned up on orders from the Communist party.
The plain fact is that Hindu women wanted their husbands and brothers and sons to go on that pilgrimage so as to detox. They didn't want them to be fucking prossies.
Are you surprised that such mobilizations over “traditions” have a polarizing effect even in parts of India that were seemingly unaffected by such trends?
They had no polarizing effect. The thing was an invented 'wedge' issue which back fired. The Communist party in Kerala is now taking a much more pragmatic line. Let us see if they can woo the Muslim League into an alliance. If so, why shouldn't Communism seek to make a comeback across the country as the only genuine 'secular'- as opposed to dynastic- party?
TBH: Not at all. Some of the so-called progressive states in India ruled by the left for decades like Kerala and West Bengal were very effective in countering the Hindu right as a political force at the level of street politics.
However, none of these movements ever seriously tackled caste attitudes or communal attitudes as they persisted in private, familial, and community spaces and practices.
Fuck off! What they didn't 'seriously tackle' was low productivity which is why you have 'caste attitudes'.
Here, in the private sphere or the community of castes and communities, all kinds of unreconstructed notions of Hindu superiority and purity persisted, even flourished.
So what? All that matters is productivity which is how a Nation pays for Public Goods and higher and more secure material standards of well being.
You mention one example about temple entry in Kerala; another would be the abysmal social and educational situation of Muslims in West Bengal after three decades of communist rule. What does that tell you?
That Muslims start working to support themselves from a young age. The fact that they don't get indoctrinated in worthless shite is also the reason they will rise as the buddhijivi bhadralok continues to decline.
That the left was unwilling to confront certain social and cultural prejudices among its own supporters and its leadership.
The Left was unwilling to stop being a stupid bunch of geriatric thugs. Then its heads were kicked in and it crawled off into a corner to die.
UNP: Do you see competitive communalism [the use of religious extremism to garner votes or influence] emerging from minorities in response to Hindu majoritarianism?
Some minorities think Hinduism is very evil. Infidels must be killed if they won't convert.
TBH: Much less than one would expect. One does not have to spend much time with Muslim communities to understand the resentment and the fear in this overpoliced community. I think it is a miracle that Muslim radicalism has so few takers in India.
Why? India is like its neighbors. Minorities are either cowed or are getting their heads kicked in.
Indian Muslims understand that the radical gesture is simply going to backfire, and they exercise enormous restraint in their response to what can only be called a regime of low-intensity but constant harassment and terror in much of the country.
The difference between India and its Islamic neighbors is that there is no duty, not even any reputational reward, for Hindus to proselytize or forcibly convert.
UNP: Will the Indian middle classes, which now view police excesses as those that happen to others, continue to be safe under a government that is becoming increasingly intolerant of any dissent?
Tax payers want the police to fuck up criminals.
TBH: Well, my guess is that BJP/RSS will not need to go all authoritarian with secret police excesses as we have seen elsewhere. Mobilizing the conformism, the complacent clannishness, and the fear of religious and social minorities is likely to keep them in power. The caste system hardwired a certain suspicion of other communities and an embrace of “our way of life” into each community. The BJP/RSS is harnessing that culture of suspicion through its campaigns against nonconformists. I don’t think they need the midnight knock to keep people in line.
So, there isn't actually any fucking Nazism here. Under Congress, there was the Emergency and plenty of midnight knocks on the door.
UNP: Are there any parallels between the Modi government in India, Bolsonaro government in Brazil, Erdogan in Turkey, and Putin in Russia?
No. The army has never had any role in Indian politics.
TBH: Yes, they are all mobilizing aggressive nationalism in order to protect a putative injured majority.
Erdogan and Putin are conducting military operations so as to control the territory of neighboring countries. Bolonaro appears to have the backing of the military which used to hold power. Erdogan is an Islamist, not a Nationalist. Bolsonaro is an anti-Leftist backed by Evangelicals.
That was also true of Trump.
Who speaks bitterly of the centuries of British colonial rule- right?
Injured by what, you may ask? By the relative loss of self-evident cultural and political dominance of a male-dominated white,
or Hindu upper caste,
Modi isn't upper caste
or Anatolian culture
Anatolian culture? Erdogan isn't a pan-Turanian. He is Islamist and soft on the Ikhwan.
and the increased visibility of women, people of color,
coz upper caste Hindus like me are actually blonde- right?
and ethnic, sexual, and social minorities in public life, education, and in the economy. All of the right-wing populisms in the world can be understood
by stupid and lazy people
as backlashes against periods of reform and social mobility that deepened democracies.
Getting rid of corrupt dynastic rule deepens democracy and increases social mobility
But there are important differences: In the US and Brazil, populism rides on protest votes against what is perceived as a liberal establishment.
No. Demographic change is important in the US. In Brazil, massive corruption and Lula being barred from standing put Bolsonaro in power. Neither country is at all similar to India which more closely resembles its neighbors.
That can easily fall apart as we saw with Trump. In India, Russia, and Turkey, right-wing populisms are grounded in extensive and deeply rooted political parties and local organizations. That makes them far more durable—and more dangerous.
Only to people who hate India or Russia or Turkey. What is durable is good for a country. Racists from other countries may not like it, but sensible foreigners are cool with stable and durable political arrangements which permit trade to burgeon.
UNP: How do you see the rise of these right-wing forces in a global context? Is this a cyclical phenomenon?
Left-wing forces disappeared because they made poor people poorer without really enriching anybody.
TBH: After World War II, there was a popular description of fascism as a reaction to the world-shattering events of the Great Depression that began with the financial crash in 1929.
Fuck off! Fascism rose in Italy before the Great Depression. The threat of Communist revolution was the driver.
The explanation was that the economic losses and deprivations caused by the crisis made people embrace figures like Hitler and Mussolini that promised order and blamed the Jews for the economic crisis.
Weimar kept up a pretense of democracy so as to continue to borrow. Once 'extend and pretend' was off the table, Germans gravitated to the General Staff's maximal program of conquest to stave off national bankruptcy.
That type of explanation was also mobilized in 2016
to explain Trump’s appeal among blue-collar workers in the US that had been hurt by transformations of the American economy. However, it turned out that Trump voters were slightly better off than Democratic voters. They were also almost completely white. It became clear, quite soon, that racism and misogyny were at the heart of Trumpism, as they are undeniable parts of Bolsonaro’s platform and rhetoric. In India, the wealthier and more upper-caste you are, the more likely you are a BJP supporter.
Nonsense! Delhi is affluent. It votes for Kejriwal though, no doubt, Modi is the PM everybody wants. My own people- who aren't poor and are upper caste- vote Congress or ADMK. The South has an incentive to resist the BJP because of the threat of seat redistribution in 2026. Karnataka remains unpredictable.
It does not mean that there aren’t poor people supporting Modi, or Erdogan, but their core constituencies are in fact the very middle classes that are usually hailed as the bedrock of democracy.
The plain fact is both Modi and Erdogan and Rishi and Biden and every other elected leader is supported by the classes that are the bedrock of democracy. if this isn't the case, there is no fucking democracy though there may be a Dynasty, or Oligarchy, which periodically arranges more or less corrupt or pointless elections.
Hansen clearly knows nothing about the politics of any democratic country. He represents the utter bankruptcy of Anthropology as an academic discipline. Defund that shite now!
Ram Guha & 10 reasons the Mahatma is irrelevant
Ram Guha, in the pages of Scroll.in, offers ten weighty reasons why Gandhi, his life, and his ideas still matter in the third decade of the 21st century.
India has a celibate Prime Minister while the biggest State in India- Uttar Pradesh- has the head of a monastic sect as its Chief Minister. Mahatma Gandhi had appealed to all 'thinking Indians' to be celibate- even if they were already married. It seems Gandhi shared an ideal of selfless service to the Nation with the Hindu Revolutionaries- e.g. Bhai Parmanand of the Arya Samaj who had visited Gandhi just before his conversion to celibacy- and that ideal continues to appeal to Indian voters.
However, nowhere save India do we see politicians gaining power because they are 'brahmacharees'. Thus, though Gandhi's stress on celibacy for political success does still carry a lot of weight, this is only true of India- a Hindu polity.
Guha, being ignorant of history, takes a different view.
The first reason Gandhi matters is that he gave India, and the world, a means of resisting unjust authority without using force oneself.
No he didn't. He took over civil disobedience techniques which had already been used to greater effect. In Britain, opposition by Dissenters ( a minority who opposed the Established Church) to the 1902 Education Act, which forced many of them to pay for Anglican Schools through their local taxes, had triggered a massive passive resistance campaign spearheaded by a Baptist Minister, John Clifford, who formed the National Passive Resistance Committee, which hoped to convince more Nonconformists to resist the Act and stop paying their rates until it was repealed. By 1904 over 37,000 summonses for unpaid school taxes were issued, with thousands having their property seized and 80 protesters going to prison. This was a big factor in the defeat of the Tories in the 1906 election. Sadly, as Nehru notes in 'Discovery of India', the threat of confiscation put an end Gandhian resistance to the 1935 Act. Congress ended its policy of non-cooperation and contested elections like other parties.
Another Gandhian technique, the hunger strike, had been used much more effectively by the Suffragettes. But they were prepared to die in that cause and the Government had to resort to forced feeding and the 'Cat and Mouse Act'.
Interestingly, the idea of satyagraha was born in a meeting held in Johannesburg’s Empire Theatre on September 11, 1906,
No. That is where the thing was announced. The February defeat of the Tories in 1906 had led commentators to speak of the efficacy of Passive Resistance- in particular, the impression made on voters by the spirit of sacrifice shown by those who went to jail for their beliefs. However satyagraha was even more closely linked to the Swadeshi movement.
when Indians under Gandhi’s leadership resolved to court arrest in protest against racially discriminatory laws.
After a few weeks in jail, Gandhi backed down. He decided having to carry a Pass was a good and salutary thing. Indians would voluntarily register and carry passes. What was unkind was the Government making the thing compulsory as though Indians were as stupid as Africans and were not aware that having to give your finger prints and carry a Pass was a great privilege and a boon beyond price.
Ninety-five years later to the day, the World Trade Center was blown up by terrorists.
Planes crashed into it. It burnt down.
Two 9/11s: one seeking justice through non-violent struggle and personal sacrifice; the other seeking to intimidate the enemy through terror and force.
We now know that the War on Terror ended in America's enemies prevailing. We can also see that Ukraine is regaining territory by fighting, not sulking, or going on hunger strike. War and Violence matter. European Imperialism came to an end only because of two world wars.
As history has demonstrated, as a form of protest against injustice, satyagraha is more moral, as well as arguably more efficacious, than the alternatives.
South Africa became more racist after Gandhi's intervention than before. Apartheid only ended because of military intervention by Soviet backed Cubans in that part of the world. Once Moscow and Washington had done a deal, the rug was pulled from under the Apartheid regime. Mandela explicitly said that Nehru was a bigger influence on him than Gandhi.
After its first iterations under British rule in South Africa and India, Gandhi’s method has had many remarkable emulators, most notably perhaps the civil rights struggle in the United States of America.
The Federal Government was prepared to use troops to enforce Court ordered de-segregation. The Cold War was heating up and Jim Crow was a handicap for the West. Thus, it had to go. Sadly, 'white flight' and the Republican 'Southern Strategy' undid some of the expected gains. Gandhian methods had only had salience in the late Fifties and early Sixties. Afterwards, attention shifted to people like Malcolm X and the Black Panthers. As in South Africa, so too in African American politics, Gandhian methods were a mere phase. But this was also true of India.
The second reason Gandhi matters is that he loved his country and culture while recognising its disfiguring qualities and seeking to remedy them.
Which politician said he hated his country and wanted its qualities to be uglier yet?
As the historian, Sunil Khilnani, once remarked, Gandhi was not just fighting the British, he was also fighting India.
and fighting sex and the desire to eat nice things and wear nice clothes and have good quality Schools, Hospitals, Livelihoods etc, etc. The man was a crackpot.
He knew his society, our society, to be characterised by a deep and pervasive inequality.
His solution was for everybody to give up sex and trade and the division of labor. If everybody starves and the human race dies out, equality will have been achieved.
His struggle against untouchability came out of this desire to make Indians more fit for true freedom.
But, in 1922, his unilateral surrender made the prospect of freedom much more distant. This may have been a good thing. As the die-hard Tories said, perhaps Indians were incapable of feeding and defending themselves. But this was only because Indian businessmen found it beneficial to finance crackpots like Gandhi and impractical dreamers like Nehru.
As for untouchability, his approach has been wholly rejected by actual Dalits. Ambedkar complaint was that he took money in the name of helping 'Harijans' but spent it on his own crackpot schemes.
And while by no means a thoroughgoing feminist, he did an enormous amount to bring women into public life.
Guha forgets that Annie Beasant had been head of Congress before Gandhi formally entered Indian politics. He should have left Beasant- a feminist and Trade Unionist- as the figurehead because this reassured Whites that their women would not be raped in a repeat of the 1857 anarchy.
The third reason Gandhi matters is that while a practicing Hindu, he refused to define citizenship on the basis of faith.
Because the British hadn't done so. However, in 1939 he wrote an article saying that Congress was a Hindu party. The Brits must hand over control of the Army to Congress otherwise Muslims and Punjabis would take over the country and subjugate the non-violent Hindu. Incidentally, Pakistan and Burma and Sri Lanka too did not define citizenship on the basis of faith though all did plentiful ethnic cleansing on that basis. However, India stripped citizenship of Muslims who had crossed the border in panic. Non-Muslim refugees were granted citizenship.
If caste divided Hindus vertically, religion divided India horizontally.
No. Language and ethnicity divided India horizontally. Religion bound together contiguous communities despite differences in language, customary law, economic mode of production etc.
Gandhi struggled to build bridges between these vertical, and often historically opposed, blocs.
He failed. Still, he provided good value for money for some of his financiers and supporters.
The pursuit of Hindu-Muslim harmony was an abiding concern; he lived for it and, in the end, was prepared to die for it too.
No. He conceded Pakistan. He could have died defending Hindus in areas where they were being ethnically cleansed. He chose not to. He was killed by a Hindu even though he had failed to prevent ethnic cleansing in Delhi. The Muslim population of that city went from a third to about 5 percent while Gandhi and Nehru and Ambedkar and so on were squatting in the seats of power vacated by the Brits.
The fourth reason Gandhi matters is that while steeped in Gujarati culture, and an acknowledged master of Gujarati prose, he was not a narrow-minded regionalist.
Guha, fool that he is, forgets that this is also a description of Narendra Modi.
Just as he had space and love for religions other than his own, he had space and love for languages other than his own.
Except English. He kept telling people to stop speaking or writing in that language.
His understanding of the religious and linguistic diversity of India was deepened by his years in the diaspora, when his closest comrades were as often Muslim or Parsi as they were Hindu, and Tamil speakers as often as they were Gujaratis.
No. His closest comrades were people of his own family and caste. In South Africa, Muslims appealed to Muhammad Ali Jinnah to come and protect them from Gandhi's crazy policies which favoured the small Hindu trader and harmed the bigger, established, Muslim enterprises. Gandhi was beaten on the head, after he did a deal to get out of prison, by a Pathan. Tamils born in South Africa soon took an independent line from Gandhi. They saw that the Indian origin people must make common cause with the 'Cape Coloureds'- whose leader was a Muslim doctor- as well as with the indigenous people and the White working class. Gandhi maintained that the Indian struggle should be kept separate from that of indigenous people. He did ally with the Chinese- who went to jail in large numbers- but didn't lift a finger to prevent their mass deportation. Since the Indians were British subjects, Britain would have to resettle them if they were deported. This also meant that if they went on strike because the poll tax was too high, they were bound to prevail- which is exactly what happened.
The fifth reason Gandhi matters is that he was both a patriot and an internationalist.
He was neither. He tried to recruit Indians to serve in the British Army during the Great War. Internationalists opposed that War of Emperors. Russell and Palme Dutt could be said to be Internationalists. They went to jail for their opposition to the War. Gandhi received the 'Kaiser-e-Hind' medal for acting as a recruiting serjeant.
He appreciated the richness and heritage of Indian civilisation,
he was ignorant of it because he never learnt Sanskrit.
yet knew that in the 20th century no country could be a frog in the well.
His idea was that India should turn into a vast collection of autarkic villages. He thought wheeled transport was evil. A frog in a well may be drawn up by a bucket and go hopping off where it pleases. Gandhi's idea was that every Indian should immure himself in some self sufficient village cut off from transportation and trade.
It helped if one saw oneself in the mirror of another.
No. I just came from a swim. Suppose I had 'seen myself in the mirror of another' who was fully clothed, I'd have neglected to dress myself and would have been arrested for public nudity.
His own influences were as much Western as Indian.
They were shit.
His philosophical and political outlook owed as much to Tolstoy and Ruskin
both of whom were mad
as it did to Gokhale
Nonsense! Gokhale was a Professor of Mathematics who gained influence because of his superb command of facts and figures and empirically verifiable socio-economic trends. Gandhi was a crackpot. Gokhale warned that he was shit at negotiation. He hadn't actually done anything very wonderful in South Africa.
a proper Jain savant. But Gandhi wasn't Jain. He didn't get that Jain merchants could finance, and Jain warriors could fight, in patriotic wars.
He cultivated deep friendships across the racial divide
Sadly, he did no form deep friendships with the indigenous people. To be fair, racism was supposed to be 'scientific' back then.
with, among others, Henry and Millie Polak, Hermann Kallenbach,
who were Jewish
and CF Andrews,
who was pals with every Indian who met him
all of whom played critical roles in his personal and his public life.
If they were useful to him- sure. Gandhi told Kallenbach to fuck off when the latter asked for Gandhi's moral support for the beleaguered Jews of Europe.
I am now going to pause, and explain how, without these five aspects of Gandhi’s legacy, independent India might have chosen an altogether different path than it in fact did.
The British chose which path India would follow. Since Brits like A.O Hume knew a lot about India and were very very smart, India was able to follow the path they had begun sketching out in the 1880's when the first elections to local bodies were held. The 'last Englishman to rule India' (as Nehru described himself) may not have entirely succeeded in sticking to the British road map because he ended up laying the foundation of a despotic Dynasty of increasing incompetence.
Because Gandhi eschewed violence in favour of dialogue,
like Jinnah and Liaquat and Shurawardy. These guys were barristers not war-lords
this helped us emerge as a multi-party democracy,
like Pakistan and Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
not a single-party totalitarian State (which was the fate of most Asian and African countries which chose the violent path to self-determination).
Only if the Army could subjugate the country. But this has only been possible in Myanmar which however was a multi-party democracy in the Fifties.
Because people like Gandhi and BR Ambedkar emphasised gender and caste equality, these principles were encoded in our Constitution.
As they are in the Pakistani and Sri Lankan and every other fucking constitution.
the Brits in India emphasized religious and linguistic freedoms, British trained barristers and other
people like Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru emphasised religious and linguistic freedoms, India — unlike many other countries — did not define citizenship on the basis of a single superior religion and a single superior language.
Pakistan does not define citizenship in religious terms. It did however alter its Constitution to declare itself an Islamic Republic. But then India too altered its Constitution to declare itself a Secular, Socialist, Republic.Article 343(1) of the Indian constitution specifically mentions that "The official language of the Union shall be Hindi in Devanagari script. " This was Godse's, not Gandhi's demand.
As the invocation of Ambedkar and Nehru suggests, I would not for a moment claim that Gandhi alone contributed to the creation of an independent India with a democratic and inclusive political ethos.
This is crazy shit. It is obvious that Britain and Britain alone fostered a 'democratic and inclusive political ethos' in their Indian territory. The Hindus were prone to Dynasty worship while the Muslims and Burmese Buddhists tended to end up under Military Dictatorship.
However, he played a critical role, through his leadership and his repeated emphasis on democracy, cultural pluralism, and social equality.
These are core British values. London has a Muslim Mayor. The UK has a Hindu Prime Minister. Why? British people- though as White and as Christian as fuck- have, sui generis, evolved democratic and egalitarian and pluralistic values and institutions fit for a modern, scientific, age.
India merely engaged in 'money see, monkey do' till its gaze shifted from Westminster to the Kremlin. But India couldn't do Communism because no Army could take land from 'kulaks'. Indeed, the Indian Army is recruited from the sons of kulaks.
The sixth reason Gandhi matters is that he was a precocious environmentalist, who anticipated that unbridled growth and consumerism could bring planetary disaster.
Fuck off. Gandhi's solution was everybody giving up sex. That's the only way to prevent anthropogenic climate change.
As he wrote in December 1928: “God forbid that India should ever take to industrialization after the manner of the West.
Stupidity and ignorance had forbidden India from taking to technological industrialization with the result that it kept getting poorer and weaker till could, at best, only be seen as a mere source of raw materials and forced labor for, by 1928, only Japan. Seriously, Whites no longer wanted any large part of it. Only the Japs could have raised productivity albeit in a cruel manner.
Come to think of it, there was a Japanese spy- a Buddhist monk- who had attached himself to Gandhi. He'd keep getting himself beaten up to show his adherence to non-violence. My point is India has no monopoly on Crazy. Lazy- maybe. India pherry hot.
The economic imperialism of a single tiny island kingdom (England) is today keeping the world in chains.
Soon it would become apparent that it was only the Royal Navy of that tiny kingdom which was keeping South East Asia and perhaps even the Eastern portion of India from Japanese chains.
If an entire nation of 300 million took to similar economic exploitation, it would strip the world bare like locusts.”
No it wouldn't. Still, it's good to know that Gandhi hated brown people and thought of them as little better than locusts. Niggers mustn't have nice things- right? God fucking hates them.
This was extraordinarily prescient,
Stalin was committing the Soviet Union to capital intensive industrialization at precisely this time. American Corporations were helping. Nobody had the prescience to see that this would ultimately shift the geopolitical balance of power such that Germany would be crushed and European hegemony or White Supremacy would ultimately disappear for all time.
To be fair, Christianity is anti-Racist as is the Socialism it inspires. Europe would have shaken off that stupid shite sooner or later. Guys my age are astonished it happened so much sooner than our parents expected.
for in emulating the capital-intensive, resource-intensive, and energy-intensive path of industrialisation pioneered by the West, China and India
imitated the Soviet Union- but the thing stalled. It wasn't till China and India imitated the 'Tigers' who had imitated Japan that material living standards rose in China and India such that racist cunts like Guha could complain that world was being stripped bare by locusts
are indeed threatening to strip the world bare like locusts. In his life and his work, Gandhi advocated an ethic of restraint and responsibility
and never having sex with anybody ever
on whose wider acceptance the future of our planet may depend.
Guha had sex. Thus Guha is not, in Gandhi's estimation, a 'thinking Indian'.
The seventh reason Gandhi matters was his ability to grow and evolve as he had fresh encounters and new experiences.
No. Gandhi matters because he showed that 'virtue signaling' in politics is dependent entirely on money from speculators intent on turning into monopolistic industrialists, on the one hand, and rent-seeking proto-dynastic political 'moral entrepreneurs'.
A famous quote probably mistakenly attributed to the economist, John Maynard Keynes, runs: “When the facts change, I change my mind. And how about you, sir?”
Why change your mind when the facts change? There is a pay off from having a robust strategy. There is a penalty for having fragile convictions or unreliable behavior.
A quote actually made by Gandhi, in 1934, is this: “I make no hobgoblin of consistency. If I am true to myself from moment to moment, I do not mind all the inconsistencies that may be flung in my face.”
This is paraphrase of a passage from an essay by Emerson written a hundred years previously. The thing had been a set text for matriculation exams for many decades.
Why is Guha parading the shallowness of his own Literary Paideia in a manner so damaging to the prestige of Tambrams like me? Guha and I had grandparents and great grandparents who could quote the whole passage.
Over the course of his life, Gandhi changed his mind
No. His paymasters changed their mind. You can't have globally competitive textile factories if you cling to casteist shite.
on three critical issues in particular. These were race, caste, and gender, on all of which he shed his youthful prejudices in favour of more progressive positions.
Fuck off. Britain changed its views and Black British trained barristers followed suit for fear of looking shittier than their masters.
From being an unthinking racist,
he was a thinking racist who wanted Indians in South Africa to get a special position. This may have been possible for Muslims because of Ottoman backing and the fact that Cape Malay Muslims were educationally and socially advanced. On the other hand, the fact that Boers called the indigenous people 'Kaffir' was because...urm... fuck me, do I need to mention which religion was biggest in the Slave Trade?
he became a principled anti-racist;
No. Had he been anti-racist and anti-misogyny, he'd have let Annie Beasant continue to lead the Freedom Movement. But in that case, he'd have received little money from Marwaris for his crackpot schemes.
from challenging caste hierarchies timidly and hesitantly, he confronted them directly and unreservedly;
the cunt went on a 'fast-to-death' to fuck over Ambedkar. Had Gandhi died, Dalits would have been massacred because Ambedkar would have been blamed for killing the Mahatma. As a matter of fact, Brahmins in Pune were killed and their houses burnt down when a Chitpavan Brahmin shot the maha-crackpot.
from assigning non-political roles to women,
Gokhale assigned Gandhi a non-political role when the cunt returned to India. Then Gokhale died and Tilak and Jinnah brokered a Hindu Muslim deal. Annie Beasant became President of Congress at the end of 1917. Gandhi's role, in Champaran, was to disguise the fact that the Hindus were successfully using violence to force Muslims to give up cow-slaughter. This was cool, coz Ashraf Indian Muslims didn't eat beef. Lower class Hindus and Muslims did. But then Christians born or raised in UAE, Saudi, etc. have an unconquerable aversion to pork
he came to whole-heartedly encourage their participation in the public sphere and in the freedom struggle.
No. He came to whole-heartedly encourage young females to get naked and sleep with him. I do the same. Sadly, I don't have grand-nieces who can be coerced in this manner.
The eighth reason Gandhi matters is that he had a rare knack of making leaders out of followers.
Nonsense! He had a, not rare at all, knack of making fools out of followers. India abounds in Godmen who do nothing else. On the other hand, he helped Motilal Nehru get rid of his Muslim son-in-law and find a Brahmin husband for Vijaylaxmi. That's why Motilal supported Non-Cooperation.
He identified talent, nurtured and developed it, and then set it free to grow further on its own.
Fuck off. Talent came to him coz he was a great self-publicist but then that talent turned to shit.
Many of the disciples who flocked to him became major makers of history in their own right.
There is not one single example of this happening. A mutual appreciation society doesn't 'make history'. It fabricates a narrative.
These remarkable followers-turned-leaders included Jawaharlal Nehru,
projected by his Daddy, Motilal
whose elder, non-Gandhian, brother was more important
a child widow who married into Sarojini Naidu's already influential family. She acted in movies. Gandhi was against that sort of thing.
C. Rajagopalachari, Zakir Husain, J.B. Kripalani, J.C. Kumarappa, Sarala Devi (Catherine Mary Heilmann), and many, many others.
A roll-call of political failure or impotence of the highest order. Why not mention the Franco-Greek Hitlerite 'Savitri Devi'?
Gandhi’s ability to nurture future leaders
he had none. His closest acolyte was Vinobha who was apolitical and ended up endorsing the 'Anushasan Parva' of Indira's Emergency.
is in striking contrast to the inability to do so of the three most influential prime ministers of independent India. Jawaharlal Nehru,
whose Deputy Prime Minister took over after Nehru's daughter refused the top job
who successfully passed on the job to her only remaining son
and Narendra Modi
who may be able to bequeath his job to Yogiji
have varied greatly amongst themselves in terms of character and political ideology.
Not really. They are all Hindi speaking Nationalists. Indira and Narasimha Rao may have had a greater predilection for Swamys and Babas. Atal and Narendra are celibates in the Vivekananda mode which the Mahatma enjoined upon all 'thinking Indians'.
However, in one respect they are akin — the tendency to identify the party, the government, the State, with themselves.
Fuck off! Nehru could split Congress and Indira did split Congress. Atal and Modi had no such power or potentiality.
On the other hand, what Guha is doing is identifying everything- the Past, the Present, the Future- with himself. Because he keeps writing books about Gandhi, he himself is Gandhi- save in so far as he is that God whom, whatever his faults, Gandhi still sought to serve.
Indira carried this personalisation of power much further than Nehru,
Nonsense! Nehru could centralise power with little opposition from his party. Indira had to split hers to carry on in that direction. But, it turned out, assassination is a great curb on autocracy.
This is the big lesson the Mahacrackpot continues to teach. You can be as big a nuisance as you like but somebody might just fucking shoot you.
Three people surnamed Gandhi were assassinated after 1947 and Congress benefited each time. Sonia and Rahul preferred to get rich without being in the firing line.
and Modi has carried it even further than Indira.
No he hasn't. Only Indira and Sonia turned a political party into a vehicle for the aggrandisement and autocracy of an incompetent son.
Yet all saw themselves as somehow indispensable and irreplaceable.
Because they didn't get that death happens.
They did little to foster the next generation of leaders.
Shit doesn't need to foster the next generation of shit coz shit just happens anyway.
(Outside politics, this trait of personalising authority is also characteristic of many Indian corporate leaders as well as heads of Indian civil society organisations, who likewise encourage an identification of the organisation with themselves.)
Ram Guha identifies Historiography with himself. He hasn't fostered a next generation of historians coz frankly he is the end of the line as far as stupid shite is concerned.
The ninth reason Gandhi matters was his willingness to see the opponent’s point of view,
He was incapable of this because he didn't know shit about economics or geopolitics or military doctrine. He simply took money from semi-literate Hindu speculators and talked bollocks while they cashed in.
coupled with his readiness to reach out to them and seek an honourable compromise.
He never made any fucking 'honorable compromise'. Sulking in jail is not a compromise. It is just being a nuisance till you are incarcerated.
Thus, his patient attempt, over many years, to find common ground with political adversaries such as Jinnah and Ambedkar, and with imperial proconsuls in South Africa and India as well.
There was neither patience nor common ground. Ambedkar, it must be said, was foolish enough to let his political patron, JN Mandal ally with Jinnah who made him his Law Minister just as Nehru made Ambedkar his Law Minister. But Mandal had to run away to India. Ambedkar then lost any chance of remaining in Parliament.
Gandhi had no personal dislikes or hatreds, only intellectual or political differences, and these also he hoped he could resolve. He had an absolute inability to bear grudges.
He also had an absolute inability to do anything sensible- though, no doubt, his financiers made money one way or another.
The tenth reason Gandhi matters is the transparency of his political life.
It was shit. That was transparent.
Anyone could walk into his ashram; anyone could debate with him;
but what they would hear would be stupid shite
indeed, as eventually happened, anyone could walk up to him and murder him.
Because Sardar Patel didn't think it worthwhile to prevent this salutary outcome.
What a contrast this is with the security-obsessed lives of other political leaders, whether in his time or ours!
Guha was too frightened to take up a Professorship in Gujarat. What a contrast this coward presents to the cunt he glorifies- so as to make money.
The lessons from Gandhi’s life that I have outlined here are
not necessarily of relevance to this country alone.
Every country can have a Guha like cretin shitting out lies
However, in a climate of aggressive religious majoritarianism,
& ethnic cleansing, which is what Gandhi and Nehru presided over in 1947-48
a political culture of invective and abuse,
Guha is incapable of anything save invective and self-abuse
the purveying of falsehoods and untruths by
leaders and governments, the ravaging of the natural environment, and the creation of personality cults, it may be in India that they matter most of all.
No. In India, Governance is all that matters. Gandhi was shit at it and thus governed nothing. Nehru was a little better but still pretty shitty. The good news was that the British legacy of a 'steel frame' and an army with good esprit de corps allowed Congress to keep being shit decade after decade. But even shitty things have to come to an end and that is what has happened to the Dynasty and its durbari intellectuals.
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 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  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 peculiar to himself 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' are 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. The fact is, a territory is sovereign if it contains its own supreme authority. In Europe, there was a historical process whereby the Pope and the Holy Roman Emperor ceased to be sovereign in any sense. Some polities also dispensed with Monarchs who, in any case, tended to become ceremonial figure heads.
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 heuristic 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 a class of 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 micturition 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. preference and endowment diversity
, 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
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  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
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,
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
whose functioning through minute and pedantic disciplines
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.
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.
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.