The Aitch of Infrapolitics. By Alberto Moreiras.

Deconstruction may perhaps be said to have had no discernible, no palpable, or touchable or visible or clear, political effects.   It may be said to be a thinking of ambiguity, a non-militant thinking, unavailable to politics except in the fallen and derivative sense of being a set of tools for critical destruction of the other, of the antagonist, ineffectual at that, merely abstruse, speculative, merely critical, perhaps.   Not politically efficient the way that Marxism can be argued to have been, or still to be, politically efficient. Or, say, Ernesto Laclau´s hegemony theory, or Alain Badiou`s commitment to fidelity to a political event of truth through ongoing subjectivation.   One could even say that, of all the theoretical paradigms of the last forty years, deconstruction is the least political of then, the least politically efficient, as it can be said to be considerably less politically efficient than identity thinking, or gender-based thinking, or cultural studies, or even good old-fashioned hermeneutics in the traditional sense, since at least hermeneutics in every case updated and explicitated the hidden content of the tradition.   And what has deconstruction ever done, politically speaking? Nothing. Which, naturally enough, raises the suspicion in a lot of good, well-intentioned folks that any claim to use deconstruction for political analysis can only be secretly or not so secretly reactionary and even nihilistic. It does not get any better when some of us say, as tentatively as possible, that we intend to use deconstruction, if we ever learn how to do so, to do not directly political but infrapolitical analysis. Because what can conceivably be the use of infrapolitical analysis if it is not ultimately a political use? And, if so, then even infrapolitical analysis would be reactionary, nihilistic. In principle. Before it happens. And, they say, they probably won´t make it happen anyway: too absurd.

So it is at least interesting to see Jacques Derrida himself say, in an article entitled “Abraham, the Other,” published in 2003, that from his early infancy, in fact, from the time he was ten years old, he felt “a kind of political philosophy beginning to elaborate itself wildly in [him]” (144). And that such “political philosophy” had everything to do with his experience of antisemitism in French Algeria: “and sometimes I wonder whether the deciphering of the antisemitic symptom and of the full connotation system that accompanies it indissociably was not the first corpus I learned to interpret, as if I hadn’t known how to read, or other would say “deconstruct,” except in order to have to learn to read, even to deconstruct, antisemitism in the first place” (144).

Of course the question that opens up here is how can the detection of antisemitism constitute a politics: does it?   And part of the answer has to do with that in antisemitism that concerns itself with the destruction of the other, of the neighbor.   It does so through an interpellation that instills fear, through an act of subjection that always already inscribes itself in that obscure element in the human that feels itself hostage to a debt, immemorial and unassignable: a debt of desire, or a debt in desire. But, if, as Jean-Paul Sartre put it, “the Jew is a Jew because others hold him to be a Jew” (quoted, 148), then anybody can be a Jew.   A wild political philosophy beginning here, in this experience of fear, is necessarily resistant to any attempt at distilling in others an experience of subjection, the negative subjectivation that is born when the subject “learns the truth” about himself or herself, that is, the truth of her unworthiness, the truth of his damnation.

In his review of Martin Heidegger’s Black Notebooks Richard Wolin refers to the use of the letter H in the context of Heidegger’s antisemitic lunacy: “He attributes numinous powers to names that begin with the letter H: Heraclitus, Hölderlin, and Hegel. But Hitler would also seem to belong to the list, as would, of course, Heidegger” (Woling, 5).   The theme of election by Being or Destiny, by History, the theme that made a particular group of human beings think they were ordained to rule the world through the subjection or destruction of others, shows up in the uncanny H to which we could oppose the alternative H (or is it the same H?) of the election Derrida mentions at the end of his essay, commenting on Kafka´s story about Abraham: “There would be, perhaps, another Abraham, not just he who receives another name in his old age and, when he is 99, at the moment of his circumcision, experiments, d´un coup de lettre, the letter h, not just he who . . . on Mount Moriah, is called by the angel two times twice, first ´Abraham, Abraham,´ and then once again, from the heights of heaven . . . There would be no just Abram, and Abraham, Abraham . . . There would be another Abraham” (167).

This fourth Abraham, the Abraham of the more-than-one, the Kafkian Abraham, is the Abraham who can never be sure that he has been elected to anything, the one who might be ready for a call, but hears poorly, or can´t believe what he hears, and fears there must be a mistake, another guy may have been called, not him. Or it might even be worse. “It is as if, at the end of the year, when the best student was solemnly about to receive a prize, the worst student rose in the expectant stillness and came forward from his dirty desk in the last row because he had made a mistake of hearing, and the whole class burst out laughing. And perhaps he had made no mistake at all, his name really was called, it having been the teacher’s intention to make the rewarding of the best student at the same time a punishment for the worst one” (Kafka, 2).

The theme of election, of subjectivation through election, is perhaps constitutive of politics, of every militant subject of the political.   So perhaps the wild political philosophy of the suspension of election is, in every case, an infrapolitics: a suspension of politics.

4 thoughts on “The Aitch of Infrapolitics. By Alberto Moreiras.

  1. Infrapolitical suspension is sovereignty in suspension all the way…indeed, a new political philosophy which is not “philosophy” neither “politics” but an in-between that suspends the all too fast call to action, call to sense, call to history…

  2. Parecido a tu argumento sobre Abraham, Alberto, es el argumento de Kant, que exigía a Abraham discriminar lo que le dice la voz y reconocer que la voz de Dios no le puede pedir que mate a su hijo y no aceptar como palabra de Dios otra cosa que su propia conciencia moral, que es la verdadera voz de Dios. En este sentido hay una clara identificación de la duda como la voz inmediata de la conciencia moral (la cual, como sabemos no tiene certezas). La elección como elemento central de la política es aquello que puede ser interpretado de una manera autoritaria (en tanto contacto con el destino o la trascendencia) o democrática, como elección que autoriza pero que está vinculada a la autorización y, por tanto, a la desautorización. Esto responde a la tesis del carisma autoritario o anti-autoritario de Weber. Heidegger en este sentido siempre pensó reponer, a través de la metafísica, el sentido autoritario del carisma de Weber. El antisemitismo es una implicación de la metafísica para Heidegger y creo que el proyecto de la deconstrucción es muy consciente de esta implicación.

  3. Me surgen dos preguntas al leer los textos. Una es si la infra-política no lleva la misma insistencia que la deconstrucción en su búsqueda de lo incondicionado y lo cuasi-trascendental. Si esto es así, mi sensación es que la infra-política reinstaura en el plano político cierta trascendencia, para poder por fin sobrepasar las convenciones (más acá del hábito de decir y hacer política, en exceso con respecto al habito del yo y sus soberanías,…). ¿Pero no es, al final, la trascendencia precisamente una negación de las relaciones de fuerza, un decir no al poder en una operación de moralización?

    La segunda pregunta tiene que ver con la alusión a la demencia antisemítica de Heidegger. En la reseña de los Black Notebooks, Richard Wolin también escribe: “Heidegger also indulges in baseless numerological prophesizing, conjecturing that a final “decision” (Entscheidung) on the planetary reign of “Americanism” will come to pass in 2300. He also predicts that in the year 2327 his own name will re-emerge from the oblivion of forgetting, that is, on the 400th anniversary of the publication of Being and Time”. La fijación con la letra H, y el enfrentamiento entre nombre propio y nombre común, adquiere así, quizás, otro camino. ¿Tal vez uno similar al de Nietzsche en una de sus cartas tardías, en plena locura de un cuerpo sufriente que escribe: “yo soy todos los nombres de la historia”?

  4. Alejandro, no me parece que la infrapolítica tenga nada que ver con lo incondicionado ni con la trascendencia, más bien con la renuncia a la totalización política del espacio de experiencia. En cuanto a lo otro, por cierto. Heidegger se dejó llevar y sintomatizó aspectos lunáticos del nazismo.

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