¿Santa Muerte? By Alberto Moreiras.

“The Santa Muerte has no interest in the moral qualities of the favours she grants.  She sees no difference between a plea to cure cancer and a petition for help in robbing a bank.  She does not care if the request comes from a teetotal grandmother or a substance-abusing murderer.  The crux of the cult is to be on good terms with death, because death comes to everybody, whatever they may look like, whatever kind of life they may have led, and whatever their intentions may be.  The Santa Muerte becomes not only a representation of destiny, but a possibility of negotiating a stay of execution”  (Jo Tuckman, Mexico, Democracy Interrrupted, 137).   Apparently not a lot is known about the cult, which is diverse and multiple, and placed well beyond either morality or politics.  The question that comes up for me is, is this a religion (and what is a religion?), or is this precisely infrapolitics in action?  Or is it infrapolitical religion?   If anybody can help with good bibliography on it, that would be great.

3 thoughts on “¿Santa Muerte? By Alberto Moreiras.

  1. This is an important point, Alberto. I believe that from a psychoanalytic point of view two opposing versions of what is at stake here must be distinguished. While both are interpellations of the political, phallic logic, their results are quite contrasting. The first would be associated with the logic of perversion (not in any moral sense, of course): “infrapolitical religion” is a precise name for it insofar as it implies the phallic (religious) reappropriation of what is always already beyond the phallus, i.e. the infrapolitical. This first version thus inevitably leads, in the name of death as the Great Leveller, to the totalitarian fantasy of an “end of politics”. For its part, the second can well be associated with analytic logic as such insofar as it would imply the simultaneous affirmation of infrapolitics as irreducible and of the enduring necessity of the political, and its incessant reinvention…

  2. Would sadism, technically, be a phallic reappropriation of what is, always already, beyond the phallus? I am hesitating as to whether my next project should be an engagement with the work of Antonio Gramsci, against the grain, or whether it should be on the Sadean text, equally against the grain. Or perhaps both. It seems to me there are some aspects to the Sadean text, say, the last scene of Encore une effort, in Philosophie dans le boudoir, that could and maybe should have an infrapolitical reading. But these are swampy waters for me. Giorgio Agamben says somewhere in Homo Sacer that Encore une effort is “the first biopolitical manifesto,” or something like that, but he does not explain why. So perhaps it is an infrapolitical manifesto, instead, even if with a dominantly perverse appropriation.

    • Would sadism be a phallic reappropriation of what is, always already, beyond the phallus? Yes, insofar as it entails the reduction of the other through anxiety by occupying (nothing less than) the place of the (maternal) phallus. Amongst other things, this means that the sadist plays with the denial of (sexual) difference. You describe a fascinating sequence of possible infrapolitical readings: one of their motifs might well turn out to be the structurally perverse nature of politics (as Reason, re Kant avec Sade), i.e. a will to totalize that denies the (sexual) difference which would be the very stuff the infrapolitical is made of…

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