What Freedom?

When I got the invitation for this symposium with such a title – The illegality of Freedom [1]See: https://www.akbild.ac.at/Portal/institute/kunst-und-kulturwissenschaften/konferenzen/2016/the-illegality-of-freedom – freedom was already echoing in my mind for quite some time. Of course the Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) [2]Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) is the official name used by the US government for the Global War on terrorism. See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Enduring_Freedom was there; for 13 years OEF brought “freedom” to numerous regions in the world, the operations lasted from October 2001 to December 2014. In the 13 years of its active presence it spilled over many geopolitical spaces and countries made “freedom” Horn of Africa, Trans Sahara, Caribbean and Central America. Mimi This Nguyen in every seminal book The Gift of Freedom: War, Debt, and Other Refugee Passages (2012) suggest and I quote “That imposition of debt prevents the freedom of the escaping colonial histories that deemed them “unfree.” To receive the gift of freedom is to be indebted to empire, perhaps without end. It is not just a rhetorical ploy that sounds like a violence of liberal war and empire, but it’s actually how liberal war and empire conceptualize its violence and power. “

He is the author of this article. He is the author of this book. He is the author of the book, “What is it?” This global regime is characterized by the differential treatment of individuals, groups or communities with respect to movement or circulation. This differential treatment raises, at a deeper level, the questions about the way in which the “quality of being human” as such is instituted in a globalized society (…); NAKED FREEDOM, as the title of the video, by Marina Gržinić and Aina Smid from 2010. “I am so happy to see you.

Freedom is coming with the adjective in global capitalism. It is exponentially doubled, given as a gift, naked, illegal, and therefore stays today for an emblematic point of analysis of capitalism, its history and present: sovereignty, citizenship, the subject, and humanity. How to deal with the relation of sovereignty on one side and governmentality on the other in the time of neoliberal global capitalism?

The present class exploitation and racialization of all levels of production and reproduction of life – to the extent that we can talk of a racialized labor, racialized sexuality, racialized humanity, racialized theory, etc. – have changed our analyzes of life, death, autonomy, and subjectivization, not to speak of freedom. Therefore we can talk of racialized freedom. Subjectivity is increasingly seen as the intersection of biotechnologies, biomedicine, and bioeconomy – a constant work of modulation of the self in relation to the desired forms of life; the bio(s), lives with forms, are pushed until the last consequences, while the zoe (the naked life, an animality) is given, though supposedly without a form, a power of extra potentialities. The situation is absurd, but it does not correspond to the limitless procedures of neoliberal global capitalism and its multiplication of exploitation, expropriation, and dispossession. That we talk of illegality is the result of a crisis. This is not a crisis provoked by the refugees, but rather the outcome of a management of the biopolitical sovereignty of the EU nation-states, through the necropower procedures of abandonment, banning, exclusion, and racialization.

With this I open the differentiation of biopolitics and necropolitics. First, if necropolitics presents a new mode of governmentality for neoliberal global capitalism, that is a decision over administration of death (as being opposed to biopolitics as control over life), then we can ask which concrete, political, economic, and social ideological The decision is over normalized and accepted? Second, who are those “selected” and targeted as the goal of this necro “sovereign” decision? The situation of the refugees and the status of their lives and bodies in the EU, as well as the corpses in the Mediterranean sea, can not be described solely as murder, genocide, etc .; surely these terms have great rhetorical and political value,

Mimi Thi Nguyen makes a direct connection of freedom with the quality of being human, and I will push that to the rhetoric of what stands for freedom, which is not rhetorical at all, life, death and the human. I will keep this on line.

James Stanescu in his text “Beyond Biopolitics: Animal Studies, Factory Farms, and the Advent of the Death Life” (2013) states that that is not a category that exists outside of political contestations and ontological battles. “[3]James Stanescu, “Beyond Biopolitics: Animal Studies, Factory Farms, and the Advent of Death Life,” at https://phaenex.uwindsor.ca/ojs/leddy/index.php/phaenex/article/view/4090 Biopolitics is a horizon for. ” It’s a great idea.” Roper , the human is produced, and it is the site of great struggles, violence, and hierarchy. articulating contemporary capitalist societies from the so-called politics of life, where there is a zero degree of intervention in each and every politics in contemporary societies. I proposed that Foucault’s biopolitics, make live and let die . “

But we see a process of constant dehumanization in the refugee camp and therefore biopolitics. As the refugee camp is not a site of humanization, but of dehumanization, it is not enough to make biopolitics the central point of analysis. The point is that this dehumanization brings about different ways of thinking about life and death and freedom.

Therefore, in the “Necropolitics” (2003), Achille Mbembe discusses this new logic of capital and its processes of geopolitical demarcation of world zones based on the mobilization of the war machine. He talks about necropolitics, necro meaning death in Latin. Necropolitics is connected to the concept of necrocapitalism, ie, contemporary capitalism, which forms its forms of capital accumulation that involves dispossession and the subjugation of the power of death.

However, even more precise, we are not talking about thanatopolitics, but of necropolitics. We do not refer to Roberto Esposito but to Achille Mbembe.

Back in the 2007/2008, after re-reading Achille Mbembe’s seminal text on necropolitics (published in 2003), I developed a proposal for the re-politicization of life. I define necropolitics as ” let live and make die .”

In a necropolitics that is always a culmination of the biopolitical, we clearly see this superimposition of the fear of racial impurity in the way the refugee camps are managed. In the light of these arguments, the refugee camps are not simply the state of exception, but a place to see the processes of auto-immunization in order to get rid of those deemed not human. On the other hand, such ideas are based on racism, as the idea of ​​racial purity remains central to security at the camp; They are inhuman, of course, though as “naturally inhuman”, meticulously constructed as such.

First, what comes when biopolitics is framed differently, we see the insufficiency of biopolitics as a frame to rethink the refugee camp. A refugee camp, as if it was said and presented in public abbreviation, is supposedly here for the protection of human rights, but we are busy at sea for the last years (as it was before, of course, ) That camp is a place of dehumanization. Second, it is also connected to a different status of life and, consequently, of death.

I want to name the life in the refugee camp, not by the usual rhetoric, but by a new category that is dead life , as elaborated in Stanescu’s analysis. Deading life is a procedure employed to reduce, reduce, diminish, impoverish, to ruin life, but it is not death. The point that Stanescu makes, which is also present in Foucault, is that the fear of racial impurity remains at the core of biopower and biopolitics. [4]See Michel Foucault, “Society must be defended”: Lectures at the Collège de France, 1975-76 (New York: Picador, 2003), 254-263. Quoted in Stanescu, “Beyond Biopolitics,” 138. The rise of State racism, as stated by Stanescu, [5]Stanescu, “Beyond Biopolitics,” 138. produces fears about how races will mix. Therefore, a variety of controls are created precisely in order to regulate populations. What we have at all times is the reaction of the fears of contamination.In 2016, November 7, a few days before this presentation, the German government made a proposal that the German Ministry of the Interior should make a plan to send the migrants in the Mediterranean Sea back to Africa. The proposal has not yet been discussed at the EU level, but has already sparked severe criticism among many politicians. “The Ministry of the Interior treats refugees as a contagious disease that one wants to keep away,” Katrin Göring-Eckardt, leader of the parliamentary fraction of the Green Party told the newspaper.”

Stanescu states that if:

We take seriously Foucault’s claim that biopolitics is about politics taking life as itself, then the obvious question arises: what is life? In the strange tension between biopolitics and thanatopolitics, we have presented a theoretical buffet with which to explore and understand what politicized life means. We have Agamben’s bare life, Judith Butler’s precarious life, Walter Benjamin’s mere life, Balibar’s disposable life, Eugene Thacker’s after life, Timothy Campbell’s improper life, and Deleuze’s a life. [6]Stanescu, “Beyond Biopolitics,” 148.

In the end, he proposes deading life.

Finally, I will try to answer the question of what politicized life can mean today?

Stanescu also connects the notion of dead life with a changed view on death. He quotes Primo Levi who wrote that for certain victims of the extermination camp, “one’s hesitates to call their death” as death. [7]Primo Levi, Survival in Auschwitz: The Nazi Assault on Humanity (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996), 90. Quoted in Stanescu, “Beyond Biopolitics,” 150. Therefore, Stanescu states, “Death that we hesitate to call death? Where is an engagement with the production and fabrication of corpses?” [8]Stanescu, “Beyond Biopolitics,” 150. Death is not simple death, as it is possible to think of when we see the conditions in the refugee camps, and it is not, as Stanescu puts it, “life that is living, but a process and precursor to death. Life is an added element to the end product, death.” [9]Stanescu, “Beyond Biopolitics,” 151.

One of the most important elements that is part of the dead life, as exposed by Stanescu, is a sense of life as pure production, pure use-value. This is a perplexing situation as connected to exchange value in capitalism is; But what is the present situation of the refugees? They are not as much refugees as they are, but they need to know what the needs of the diversified labor market are.

What was the main demand for the refugee camp in Vienna in 2012? The work was done by the refugees who were negotiating with the labor market. Therefore, we can ask if there ever been a more complete and thorough realization of Marx’s surplus population than the refugees? I will insist on this question and ask, according to Achille Mbembe and altri , if there ever been a more complete superfluous population, as is the case with the refugees in Europe. death, but thoroughly fabricated use-value, a deading life.

Colonialism is not only: what Edward Said has named as a pact between an anthropocentrism and Eurocentrism is Furthermor is a project of dispossession and dehumanization by capitalism is covered by a veil of humanity that is argued by Aimé Césaire, “pseudo-humanism ” [10]See Edward W. Said, Orientalism (New York: Vintage Books, 1979), 98, and Aimé Césaire, Discourse on Colonialism (New York: MR, 1972), 37. Quoted in Stanescu, “Beyond Biopolitics,” 141 . Therefore, it is the main characteristic of the biopolitical is pseudo-humanism, and it is clear that the human is always a concept constructed against the background of racism and class, I will state that the human machine of necropolitics, which did not propose a full analysis of biopolitics, is the post-human.

Or, if biopolitics resides in colonialism and its pseudo-humanism, I claim that necropolitics resides in coloniality and it’s post-humanism. Both are constructed on a racist foundation but their rhetoric is different. What is the rhetoric?

My thesis is that “more human than human” was the biopolitical dream, while the necropolitical injunction of neoliberal global capitalism is “Still too human!” That is why necrocapitalism resides on post-humanity, and has no interest whatsoever in human misery. Or to put this differently, in necrocapitalism the human is illegal as such.

“Still too human!” in the global necropower capitalism impose the illegality of freedom. All has to vanish, to become illegal, not only freedom, but the subject as such as well. Today’s notion of the political subject is as a form of an (old) archaic subjectivity, and is therefore “delegated” to the so-called third world capitalism. The consequences are terminal government political agency.

What is the result of these relations for citizenship? The colonial / racial division is applied to citizenship, and we have two categories of citizenship: one is the category of which I will name biopolitical citizenship (the EU “natural” nation-state citizens), and the other is the necropolitical citizenship given to refugees and sans-papiers (paperless) after they die on EU soil.

How is this possible? An illustrative case is what happened on the Italian island of Lampedusa on October 12, 2013, when 350 refugees from Africa drowned in a single day. However, as Deleuze would say, this was just an additional crystallization of the European Union, which is happening everyday and last but not least a decade now. Still, the most perverse situation happened afterwards when the hundreds of dead bodies were given Italian citizenship (but only in the order of the Italian government and the EU to bury them in Italy – it was obviously cheaper than sending the dead bodies back to their countries of origin and to their respective families). The Italian government decided to prosecute the few who did survive as they tried to illegally enter Italy and the EU.necropolitical citizenship .

Therefore, as I tried to show, the citizenship today is not only in opposition to non-citizenship, but splits in halves – biopolitical and necropolitical; Like, freedom is always coming with an adjective – naked, a gift of freedom, etc.

Then what freedom stands for? To visibly radically expose the violent colonial/racial processes of dehumanization.

In the face of racialization by neoliberal global capital (which presents the r / production of animality), the flesh of the humans has a different frame, and therefore I argue that this is not just a flesh, but a political flesh. Thus the violent systematic procedures of dehumanization and racialization have made it possible for the political subjectivity of political observers to take on the political flesh of the refugees and the wretched world.

Political flesh is the answer to what politicized life can mean today. Political flesh is what reveals the daily falsifications and travesties of Occidental humanity.

Marina Gržinić


1 See: https://www.akbild.ac.at/Portal/institute/kunst-und-kulturwissenschaften/konferenzen/2016/the-illegality-of-freedom
2 Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) is the official name used by the US government for the Global War on terrorism. See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Enduring_Freedom
3 James Stanescu, “Beyond Biopolitics: Animal Studies, Factory Farms, and the Advent of Death Life,” at https://phaenex.uwindsor.ca/ojs/leddy/index.php/phaenex/article/view/4090
4 See Michel Foucault, “Society must be defended”: Lectures at the Collège de France, 1975-76 (New York: Picador, 2003), 254-263. Quoted in Stanescu, “Beyond Biopolitics,” 138.
5 Stanescu, “Beyond Biopolitics,” 138.
6 Stanescu, “Beyond Biopolitics,” 148.
7 Primo Levi, Survival in Auschwitz: The Nazi Assault on Humanity (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996), 90. Quoted in Stanescu, “Beyond Biopolitics,” 150.
8 Stanescu, “Beyond Biopolitics,” 150.
9 Stanescu, “Beyond Biopolitics,” 151.
10 See Edward W. Said, Orientalism (New York: Vintage Books, 1979), 98, and Aimé Césaire, Discourse on Colonialism (New York: MR, 1972), 37. Quoted in Stanescu, “Beyond Biopolitics,” 141 .