These are notes that I hope we can develop. We can kick them around a bit and see what happens.
Infrapolitical Deconstruction is not really a project, but it is probably better thought of as a commitment to the development of a critical dispositif, an apparatus for thought, in the sense of “a certain kind of thought,” an oriented thought. Such a development requires, 1), the furthering of the idea, 2), a process of conceptual formation, 3), a genealogy, 4), an archive. All of this is work in progress, and it will take years of labor to carry it out. In terms of 3 and 4, we also need to consider what we have called Infrapolítica 1 and Infrapolítica 2. For instance, if there is a genealogical line (postHegelianism, Nietzsche, the Marx of Capital, Heidegger, Derrida) that is common to both, it is clear that Schmitt or Althusser or Martínez Marzoa are more useful for Infrapolítica 2, whereas Levinas or Agamben may be more relevant for Infrapolítica 1. In fact, Levinas himself claims that position for his thought, clearly. Cioran is also, in a vastly different sense, more useful for Infrapolítica 1, and so are, say, Bolaño or Marías. Lacan for Infrapolítica 1. Malabou´s books on Hegel and Heidegger could be useful for both. I suspect both García Calvo and Sánchez Ferlosio will be more useful for Infrapolítica 1 as well. All of the classifications above are precarious and revisable, it is clear that there are no distinct lines. Regardless of that provisional distinction, however, we agree, more or less, or have understood, that Infrapolitical Deconstruction starts in the wake of the catastrophe of political modernity, and thinks from its ruins. It moves on two registers: a critique of politics, and an attempt to develop “existential” grounds for it: both historical and anthropological. It questions, as radically as possible, the residue of the modern age in contemporary thought, and needs a commensurate engagement with nihilism as such. It assumes the priority of the political over the economic (for instance, it assumes that capitalism is the consequence of a political development, and not the other way around), and it assumes that the ground for thought today is a history of broken hegemonies that we have no interest in reconstituting or finding a return for.
I am sorry I am still insisting on Agamben. My intention is not about grounding or forcing a mere juxtaposition or a philosophical history, but about thinking a common project. I wanted to follow up on two aspects. First, the problem of genealogy, which could allow a certain opening to start thinking about different traditions and practices that tried to destitute (here’s the Agamben) the problem of politics in the West. Let’s call this problem power, and its aporia, its relation with life. What infrapolitics tries to map, first, is how the politization process is always conditioned by a lack or void, by an insufficiency that is always produced by an enframing. This is a tradition that points to the fracture of power, but it is also, perhaps necessary, the problematization of any framing. Isn’t the frame (like the subject is to identity), another formal name for an apparatus? I take that Agamben approximates to this problem as follows (from “What is destituent power?”):
“It is this destituent potentiality that both the anarchist tradition and 20th century thought sought to define without actually ever succeeding. The destruction of tradition by Heidegger, the deconstruction of the archē, and the fracturing of the hegemonies by Schurmann, and what, on the trail of Foucault, I have called “philosophical archeology” – they are all pertinent, but insufficient, attempts to return to an historical a priori to destitute it…(….). The destitution of power and its works is an arduous task, because is first of all and only in a form-of-life that it can be carried out”. -G. Agamben, “What is destituent power?”.
Any critique of politics, is a critiqur of frames (in this sense, there is a passage here from what Alberto defined as “critique, labor of the negative” in The exhaustion of difference to the opening of Infrapolitics). Agamben seems to bring to bear the genealogies necessary to be deposited in Infrapolitica 2, but they do not say anything about Infrapolitica 1 (why should there be no power instead of power?). But if infrapolitics 1 is an existencial axiom (about singular life), the difficulty then is not anymore to destitute domination or archē, but to affirm that particular region as existence, as life. (My contention here is: Infrapolitics 2 destitute power, Infrapolitics 1 affirm its existential character). In Agamben’s project there seems to be an answer through what he calls form-of-life, that is, an existence that cannot be captured by any dispositif (economy, apparatus, gestell, hegemony).
Without the need to affirm nror limit infrapolitics to this analytic, could way say that the form-of-life is to aporia of bare life, what infrapolitics is to
the hyperbolic condition of democracy, or the politization of life? My second commentary is derived from this, although in a tangent. Could we say that infrapolitics does not just responds to the crisis of modernity (limiting it to a historical account, or to the moment of nihilism, from Heidegger to Nietzsche), but that seeks to rethink politics even at the origin of the Western tradition? Here the Marzoa, but also Agamben and Derrida, could inform through Infrapolitics 2 the radical secret of Infrapolitics 1 beyond the temporalization of modernity, in the valence between the origins (the Greeks) and the unfolding of the geneology of politics in the development of modernization and beyond. In other words, Infrapolitics should aim at not just intervening in the historical modernity of the transformation of politics, but at the whole of field of what politics
meant in relation to life.
Yes, Gerardo, I have no problem with any of that. I think Agamben is a key thinker for us, indeed formative, which of course does not mean we cannot critique certain aspects of Agamben’s work, certain positions he takes, but that is true for every key thinker in the genealogy we are invoking. Perhaps form of life is indeed another name for infrapolitics 1–it is close enough, so it could be. Agamben himself does not seem to have taken his analysis in that direction, but that does not mean that direction is not open within or even by his work. It is just a matter of pushing it, I think, and then we’ll see what happens. And as to your second issue, I think any reconsideration of the contemporary predicament of politics (I no longer know what contemporary politics is, or let’s say the contemporary political structure is, to invoke Marzoa, how it can be conceptualized accurately, but I claim that no-longer-understanding is a necessary step–which does not mean one will necessarily find the other side), necessarily involves a destruction of the tradition as a whole. Agamben did something similar with biopolitics, starting from the Foucault periodization, which he expanded radically to the Greco-Roman period. And indeed one of the very rich aspects of Agamben`s work is his rejection of the Heideggerian insistence that the translation of Greek into Roman was the most momentous event in the history of the West–Agamben shows how that thought drastically reduces the philological reappropriation of Latinity. For instance, I have said a couple of times I think a fundamental moment for infrapolitics 1 is probably to be found in the Baroque moralists–Pascal, LaRochefoucauld, Gracián. We need to mine all of it. That is why this is a vast enterprise that cannot be exhausted by any one person. Finally, we know that Schmitt is a crucial author for Agamben. It would be important to determine whether Agamben follows the analytical line proposed by Galli. It seems to me he might not. Instead, Agamben focuses on the complexities of the complexio oppositorum in order to find there the possibility of a return, which he also does in terms of Christian eschatology. This might be a difference from Agamben–that he posits a return. In any case, worth exploring. But as I said we have major differences with all of the thinkers in the genealogy we are invoking. We need to draw them out.