End of Sovereignty: Bare Life and the Coming Civil-War?

This speaks to my anarchist heart. Yes and yes and yes–oh, and so much more! (see my comment following this post, for how this connects with my art!

Agamben at one point choses to explicate this notion in reference to the included/excluded people within and outside politics:

It is as if what we call “people” were in reality not a unitary subject but a dialectical oscillation between two opposite poles: on the one hand, the set of the People as a whole political body, and on the other, the subset of the people as a fragmentary multiplicity of needy and excluded bodies; or again, on the one hand, an inclusion that claims to be total, and on the other, an exclusion that is clearly hopeless; at one extreme, the total state of integrated and sovereign citizens, and at the other, the preserve-court of miracles or camp-of the wretched, the oppressed, and the defeated.6

Isn’t this the state of exception of migrant immigrants everywhere, a multiplicity outside the law, outside sovereignty, the inclusive excluded of the wretched, the oppressed, and the defeated?


“And in a different yet analogous way, today’s democratico-capitalist project of eliminating the poor classes through development not only reproduces within itself the people that is excluded but also transforms the entire population of the Third World into bare life. Only a politics that will have learned to take the fundamental biopolitical fracture of the West into account will be able to stop this oscillation and to put an end to the civil war that divides the peoples and the cities of the earth.7”
And THIS is why NONE of the candidates, of either party, will move us one footstep beyond square zero!

…is why not one of the U.S. presidential candidates, of any party, will move us one single step past ground zero!

Dr. Rinaldi's Horror Cabinet

…the sovereign is the point of indistinction between violence and law, the threshold on which violence passes over into law and law passes over into violence.
– Giorgio Agamben, Homo Sacer

When one actually thinks about it, rather than just spouting rhetoric from some ideological mythology of the Left or Right the problem of immigration in our world is about Sovereignty. It’s about the emerging war against boundaries, limits, and finitude in politics, science, philosophy, the arts, and gender. In politics it’s about immigration, migration, and the sense of breakdown of nations and their paranoiac reactionism against imaginary and perceived threats to their own integrity and sovereignty. Same in the sciences we see explorations emerging in biotechnology, nanotechnology, and information and communications converging to form a global network society that will break free of political and social constraints and provide a larger framework and platform for such politically motivated notions as transhumanism that…

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One thought on “End of Sovereignty: Bare Life and the Coming Civil-War?

  1. Here is a comment I left on S.C. Hickman’s post on dark ecologies.

    At the head of your post, you listed 5 areas of change: politics, science, philosophy, arts, and gender. You mentioned the 2nd and 3rd, but wrote primarily about the first: politics. I’d like to hear your thoughts on the last two–and particularly, on the arts. There has been something brewing in my deep thoughts… the ones that have yet to find language, that resonates here. It has something to do with what I see as movement away from ‘composition’ as an aesthetic element, replaced by what I would call ‘structure.’ It’s how that includes, even primarily recalls, organic organizational processes, that made me see a relationship here with the “de-composition” of borders: political, academic et al.
    I know this best from my assemblages. That I’m not making a composition–though I might have thought of them in that way when I started doing this–but building something, a “structure.”
    Clearly, what I’m seeing here, is something that has been happening in the arts for some time; I’m just trying to name it, for my understanding of my own work, and for how I relate to what I see happening around me, visual arts, music, poetry… all of these.


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