For this session, we will focus of “The Figure of the Migrant” by Thomas Nail, the book introduces us into political theory of an old phenomenon. The last decade alone has marked the highest number of migrations in recorded history. Constrained by environmental, economic, and political instability, scores of people are on the move. But other sorts of changes—from global tourism to undocumented labor—have led to the fact that to some extent, we are all becoming migrants. The migrant has become the political figure of our time.
Historically, there have been numerous figures of the migrant. For example, the nomad, the barbarian, the vagabond, and the proletariat are four major kinds of migratory figures. The figure of the migrant is not a class or identity; it is a vector (a position in motion). Migrants are the true movers of history and political transformation, but this does not mean their movements are immune from cooptation by states, capital, or other forms of expulsion. In fact, it is their captured motion that is the very condition of social power in the first place (slavery, serfdom, waged labor, and so on). –On Destroying What Destroys You: An Interview with Thomas Nail by
If we take the figure of the migrant as a primary or constitutive figure of politics, it requires more than a mere accommodation of this figure into the existing frameworks of liberalism, Marxism, multiculturalism, and so on. It requires a whole new theoretical starting point that does not begin with stasis and the state, but with the more primary social movements that constitute the state, as well as the social alternatives that arise from those same movements.
We have a chance to reflect upon Deleuzian Nomadology, Ethical and political concepts developed by Simon Critchley in “Infinitely Demanding: Ethics of Commitment, Politics of Resistance” and the Nomadic Theory of feminist philosopher Rosi Braidotti.
Thomas Nail is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Denver. His research is in European philosophy, Political philosophy, and Environmental philosophy. He works on recent European thought to contemporary political events like Zapatismo, migrant activism, the Occupy movement, and ecological resistance. His Latestest works are Theory of the Border and Returning to Revolution: Deleuze, Guattari and Zapatismo.
- The Figure of the Migrant by Thomas Nail
Part I and II (Political Theory of Migrant + Kinopolitics, until page 59)
For this session, we will do one more chapter of Lefebvre’s The Production of Space, titled: “From Absolute Space to Abstract Space”. We pair that with some parts of Donna Haraway’s When Species Meet.
In When Species Meet, Donna Haraway describes the rapport of a trainer with her dog as a model of how animal and human may be joined, almost as a single being, by bonds of shared purpose, understanding, and concern. In her view, the relationship between human beings and technologies is not one of exploitation but of mutual adaptation, and human beings and animals who work together intimately, in a bond that she calls one of “companion species,” therefore must also change one another. -Human and Post-Anima, by Boria Sax
“We Have Never Been Human,” contains a strong antidose against “human expectionalism,” the virus that severs the ties between humankind and all other kinds on the basis of some features unique to the former. Instead, Haraway invites us to see the human as just another knot in the worldwide web of interspecies dependencies, as always already in-formed by organic and technological nonhumans. The term she proposes for all these old, new, and yet-to-(be) come “mixed breeds” is “companion species,” offered as an alternative [End Page 309] category also to the cyborg and other figures currently subsumed under the label “posthuman” or, rather, as a new point of orientation from which to look at (and look back at—respectere, “to hold in regard”) animals and as a different way of theorizing relationality and co-presence with significant others of all types in twentieth-century naturecultures. -Manuela Rossini
- The Production of Space by Henri Lefebvre
Chapter 4 (From Absolute Space to Abstract Space)
- When Species Meet by Donna Haraway’s
Introduction + Chapter 1&2, (until page 68)
In Katarzyna Piasecka’s terms, Xenofeminism movement is cut from the same cloth as #accelerationism – a futuristic theory announcing the end of capitalism and urging the political left to consolidate on a global level to bring about a post-capitalist future without work. The movement describe it as a technomaterialist, anti-naturalist, and gender abolitionist form of feminism.
After Testo Junkie by Paul B. Preciado, which in itself was a homage to French writer Guillaume Dustan, a close gay friend of Preciado’s who died of AIDS, “Xenofeminism is an affirmative creature on the offensive, fiercely insisting on the possibility of large-scale social change for all of our alien kin.”
Xenofeminism is a Politics for Alienation is a manifesto collectively penned by a group scattered across multiple timezones, working together under the pseudonym Laboria Cuboniks. Xenofeminism (XF) is a new feminism for a new reality that is defined by technological mediation and injected with – as LC writes in the manifesto’s opening – “abstraction, virtuality, and complexity.” The text hinges on an understanding that in the time since the millennium, the Internet itself has gone from a fresh-faced, hopeful youth to an embodiment of an angst-filled teenager. The overarching narrative of its patchwork of communities and ideologies might now be, “fuck off you’ll never understand.” – Aria Dean
For this season, we are exploring the idea of interiority/exteriority, and the relation of the body and the surface. We are drawing from the political and phenomenological aspects of the works relevant to these issues; relationship of people to space (Palestine as an example), Henri Lefebvre’s dialectics in Marxism, everyday life, cities, and (social) space. readings and inserts:
1.”Settler-colonialist management of entrances to the native urban space in Palestine” by Emile Badarina
2. Chapter 2 of “The Production of Space” by Henri Lefebvre, titled “Social Space”
3. Introduction of the “Phenomenology of Perception” by Maurice Merleau-Ponty,
From Not Bored on Henry Lefebvre: “Thanks to an ever-expanding commodity economy, young people today look more rebellious, less socialized, and less like each other in matters of personal appearance than ever before. Piercings and tattoos are a clear sign that certain forms of social conformity and homogenization are at an end. And yet, Lefebvre (following Wilhelm Reich) wants to know, “Why do they allow themselves to be manipulated in ways so damaging to their spaces and their daily life without embarking on massive revolts?” An even better question: “Why is protest left to ‘enlightened,’ and hence elite, groups who are in any case largely exempt from these manipulations?’”
From Chomsky’s recent interview by “C.J. Polychroniou, Truthout”: …the so-called American Dream was always based partly in myth and partly in reality. From the early 19th century onward and up until fairly recently, working-class people, including immigrants, had expectations that their lives would improve in American society through hard work. And that was partly true, although it did not apply for the most part to African Americans and women until much later. This no longer seems to be the case. Stagnating incomes, declining living standards, outrageous student debt levels, and hard-to-come-by decent-paying jobs have created a sense of hopelessness among many Americans, who are beginning to look with certain nostalgia toward the past. This explains, to a great extent, the rise of the likes of Donald Trump and the appeal among the youth of the political message of someone like Bernie Sanders.
Next meeting: February 17th Friday, 19:00 – 21:00
Address: Ex-club (Merimiehenkatu 36, 00150 Helsinki, Finland) NOTE: Call 0417537605 to get in
If you would like to join, just come in, (free and open to all)
✳︎ ✳︎ ✳︎
We are open to collaboration and joint projects. The reading conversations are usually carried on collectively. The topic of each month’s reading varies based on the collective interest. We are reading books, essays and materials in topics regarding contemporary art studies, politics, philosophy, criticism, etc.