Thesis: Capitalism is the hidden systemic backdrop to the 1AC’s politics. Despite their proclamations of radical resistance, the affirmative is trading in the politics of interpassivity, where all their frenetic energy serves as an ideological screen to permit the logic of capital to march on.
Zizek 02—Professor of Philosophy @ Institute for Sociology, Ljubljana [Slavoj, “Revolution at the Gates”, pg 167-172]
The problem lies in the further implicit qualifications which can easily be discerned by a “concrete analysis of the concrete situation”, as Lenin himself would have put it. “Fidelity to the democratic consensus” means acceptance of the present liberal-parliamentary consensus, which precludes any serious questioning of the way this liberal-democratic order is complicit in the phenomena it officially condemns, and, of course, any serious attempt to imagine a different sociopolitical order. In short, it means: say and write whatever you like — on condition that you do not actually question or disturb the prevailing political consensus. Everything is allowed, solicited even, as a critical topic: the prospect of a global ecological catastrophe; violations of human rights; sexism, homophobia, anti-feminism; growing violence not only in faraway countries, but also in our own megalopolises; the gap between the First and the Third World, between rich and poor; the shattering impact of the digitalization of our daily lives ... today, there is nothing easier than to get international, state or corporate funds for a multidisciplinary research project on how to fight new forms of ethnic, religious or sexist violence. The problem is that all this occurs against the background of a fundamental Denkverbot: a prohibition on thinking. Today’s liberal-democratic hegemony is sustained by a kind of unwritten Denkverbot similar to the infamous Berufsverbot (prohibition on employing individuals with radical Left leanings in the state organs) in Germany in the late 1960s — the moment we show a minimal sign of engaging in political projects which aim seriously to challenge the existing order, the answer is immediately: “Benevolent as it is, this will inevitably end in a new Gulag!” The ideological function of constant references to the Holocaust, the Gulag, and more recent Third World catastrophes is thus to serve as the support of this Denkverbot by constantly reminding us how things could have been much worse: “Just look around and see for yourself what will happen if we follow your radical notions!” What we encounter here is the ultimate example of what Anna Dinerstein and Mike Neary have called the project of disutopia: “not just the temporary absence of Utopia, but the political celebration of the end of social dreams”.2 And the demand for “scientific objectivity” amounts to just another version of the same Denkverhot: the moment we seriously question the existing liberal consensus, we are accused of abandoning scientific objectivity for outdated ideological positions. This is the “Leninist” point on which one cannot and should not concede: today, actual freedom of thought means freedom to question the prevailing liberal-democratic “post-ideological” consensus — or it means nothing. The Right to Truth The perspective of the critique of ideology compels us to invert Wittgenstein’s “What one cannot speak about, thereof one should be silent” into “What one should not speak about, thereof one cannot remain silent”. If you want to speak about a social system, you cannot remain silent about its repressed excess. The point is not to tell the whole Truth but, precisely, to append to the (official) Whole the uneasy supplement which denounces its falsity. As Max Horkheimer put it back in the l930s: “If you don’t want to talk about capitalism, then you should keep silent about Fascism.” Fascism is the inherent “symptom” (the return of the repressed) of capitalism, the key to its “truth”, not just an external contingent deviation of its “normal” logic. And the same goes for today’s situation: those who do not want to subject liberal democracy and the flaws of its multiculturalist tolerance to critical analysis, should keep quiet about the new Rightist violence and intolerance. If we are to leave the opposition between liberal-democratic universalism and ethnic/religious fundamentalism behind, the first step is to acknowledge the existence of liberal fundamentalism: the perverse game of making a big fuss when the rights of a serial killer or a suspected war criminal are violated, while ignoring massive violations of “ordinary” people’s rights. More precisely, the politically correct stance betrays its perverse economy through its oscillation between the two extremes: either fascination with the victimized other (helpless children, raped women . . .), or a focus on the problematic other who, although criminal, and so on, also deserves protection of his human rights, because “today it’s him, tomorrow it’ll be us” (an excellent example is Noam Chomsky’s defence of a French book advocating the revisionist stance on the Holocaust). On a different level, a similar instance of the perversity of Political Correctness occurs in Denmark, where people speak ironically of the “white woman’s burden”, her ethico-political duty to have sex with immigrant workers from Third World countries — this being the final necessary step in ending their exclusion. Today, in the era of what Habermas designated as die neue Unubersichtlichkeit (the new opacity),~ our everyday experience is more mystifying than ever: modernization generates new obscurantisms; the reduction of freedom is presented to us as the dawn of new freedoms. The perception that we live in a society of free choices, in which we have to choose even our most “natural” features (ethnic or sexual identity), is the form of appearance of its very opposite: of the absence of true choices. The recent trend for “alternate reality” films, which present existing reality as one of a multitude of possible outcomes, is symptomatic of a society in which choices no longer really matter, are trivialized. The lesson of the time-warp narratives is even bleaker, since it points towards a total closure: the very attempt to avoid the predestined course of things not only leads us back to it, but actually constitutes it — from Oedipus onwards, we want to avoid A, and it is through our very detour that A realizes itself. In these circumstances, we should be especially careful not to confuse the ruling ideology with ideology which seems to dominate. More than ever, we should bear in mind Walter Benjamin’s reminder that it is not enough to ask how a certain theory (or art) positions itself with regard to social struggles — we ask how it actually functions in these very struggles. In sex, the true hegemonic attitude is not patriarchal repression, but free promiscuity; in art, provocations in the style of the notorious “Sensation” exhibitions are the norm, the example of art fully integrated into the establishment. Ayn Rand brought this logic to its conclusion, supplementing it with a kind of Hegelian twist, that is, reasserting the official ideology itself as its own greatest transgression, as in the title of one of her late non-fiction books: “Capitalism, This Unknown Ideal”, or in “top managers, America’s last endangered species”. Indeed, since the “normal” functioning of capitalism involves some kind of disavowal of the basic principle of its functioning (today’s model capitalist is someone who, after ruthlessly generating profit, then generously shares parts of it, giving large donations to churches, victims of ethnic or sexual abuse, etc., posing as a humanitarian), the ultimate act of transgression is to assert this principle directly, depriving it of its humanitarian mask. I am therefore tempted to reverse Marx’s Thesis 11: the first task today is precisely not to succumb to the temptation to act, to intervene directly and change things (which then inevitably ends in a cul-de-sac of debilitating impossibility: “What can we do against global capital?”), but to question the hegemonic ideological co-ordinates. In short, our historical moment is still that of Adorno: To the question “What should we do?” I can most often truly answer only with “I don’t know.” I can only try to analyse rigorously what there is. Here people reproach me: When you practise criticism, you are also obliged to say how one should make it better. To my mind, this is incontrovertibly a bourgeois preiudice. Many times in history it so happened that the very works which pursued purely theoretical goals transformed consciousness, and thereby also social reality. If, today, we follow a direct call to act, this act will not be performed in an empty space — it will be an act within the hegemonic ideological coordinates: those who “really want to do something to help people” get involved in (undoubtedly honourable) exploits like Mediecins sans frontieres, Greenpeace, feminist and anti-racist campaigns, which are all not only tolerated but even supported by the media, even if they seemingly encroach on economic territory (for example, denouncing and boycotting companies which do not respect ecological conditions, or use child labour) — they are tolerated and supported as long as they do not get too close to a certain limit.6 This kind of activity provides the perfect example of interpassivity: of doing things not in order to achieve something, but to prevent something from really happening, really changing. All this frenetic humanitarian, Politically Correct, etc., activity fits the formula of “Let’s go on changing something all the time so that, globally, things will remain the same!”. If standard Cultural Studies criticize capitalism, they do so in the coded way that exemplifies Hollywood liberal paranoia: the enemy is “the system”, the hidden “organization”, the anti-democratic “conspiracy”, not simply capitalism and state apparatuses. The problem with this critical stance is not only that it replaces concrete social analysis with a struggle against abstract paranoiac fantasies, but that — in a typical paranoiac gesture — it unnecessarily redoubles social reality, as if there were a secret Organization behind the “visible” capitalist and state organs. What we should accept is that there is no need for a secret “organization-within-an-organization”. the “conspiracy” is already in the “visible” organization as such, in the capitalist system, in the way the political space and state apparatuses work.8 Let us take one of the hottest topics in today’s “radical” American academia: postcolonial studies. The problem of postcolonialism is undoubtedly crucial; however, postcolonial studies tend to translate it into the multiculturalist problematic of the colonized minorities’ “right to narrate” their victimizing experience, of the power mechanisms which repress “otherness,” so that, at the end of the day, we learn that the root of postcolonial exploitation is our intolerance towards the Other, and, furthermore, that this intolerance itself is rooted in our intolerance towards the “Stranger in Ourselves”, in our inability to confront what we have repressed in and of ourselves — the politico-economic struggle is thus imperceptibly transformed into a pseudopsychoanalytic drama of the subject unable to confront its inner traumas. . . . (Why pseudo-psychoanalytic? Because the true lesson of psychoanalysis is not that the external events which fascinate and/or disturb us are just projections of our inner repressed impulses. The unbearable fact of life is that there really are disturbing events out there: there are other human beings who experience intense sexual enjoyment while we are half-impotent; there are people submitted to terrifying torture.. . . Again, the ultimate truth of psychoanalysis is not that of discovering our true Self, but that of the traumatic encounter with an unbearable Real.) The true corruption of American academia is not primarily financial, it is not only that universities are able to buy many European critical intellectuals (myself included — up to a point), but conceptual: notions of “European” critical theory are imperceptibly translated into the benign universe of Cultural Studies chic. At a certain point, this chic becomes indistinguishable from the famous Citibank commercial in which scenes of East Asian, European, Black and American children playing is accompanied by the voice-over: “People who were once divided by a continent ... are now united by an economy” — at this concluding highpoint, of course, the children are replaced by the Citibank logo. The great majority of today’s “radical” academics silently count on the long-term stability of the American capitalist model, with a secure tenured position as their ultimate professional goal (a surprising number of them even play the stock market). If there is one thing they are genuinely afraid of, it is a radical shattering of the (relatively) safe life-environment of the “symbolic classes” in developed Western societies. Their excessive Politically Correct zeal when they are dealing with sexism, racism, Third World sweatshops, and so on, is thus ultimately a defence against their own innermost identification, a kind of compulsive ritual whose hidden logic is: “Let’s talk as much as possible about the necessity of a radical change, to make sure that nothing will really change!” The journal October is typical of this: when you ask one of the editors what the title refers to, they half-confidentially indicate that it is, of course, that October — in this way, you can indulge in jargonistic analyses of modern art, with the secret assurance that you are somehow retaining a link with the radical revolutionary past.. . . With regard to this radical chic, our first gesture towards Third Way ideologists and practitioners should be one of praise: at least they play their game straight, and are honest in their acceptance of the global capitalist co-ordinates — unlike pseudo-radical academic Leftists who adopt an attitude of utter disdain towards the Third Way, while their own radicalism ultimately amounts to an empty gesture which obliges no one to do anything definite. There is, of course, a strict distinction to be made here between authentic social engagement on behalf of exploited minorities (for example, organizing illegally employed chicano field workers in California) and the multiculturalist/postcolonial “plantations of no-risk, no-fault, knock-off rebellion” which prosper in “radical” American academia. If, however, in contrast to corporate multiculturalism”, we define “critical multiculturalism” as a strategy of pointing out that “there are common forces of oppression, common strategies of exclusion, stereotyping, and stigmatizing of oppressed groups, and thus common enemies and targets of attack,” I do not see the appropriateness of the continuing use of the term “multiculturalism”, since the accent shifts here to the common struggle. In its normal accepted meaning, multiculturalism perfectly fits the logic of the global market.
That’s particularly true for Cuba. Small tactical shifts in posture will be used by capitalist imperialists to strong-arm Cuba into accepting neoliberal globalization.
Nahem, coordinator of Cuba Solidarity New York, ’10 [Ike, “Obama and Cuba: End of an Illusion”, March 16th, http://dissidentvoice.org/2010/03/obama-and-cuba-end-of-an-illusion/]
Under the new Obama Administration there was a tactical diplomatic shift — a necessary retreat in form, more of a regrouping. The bellicose rhetoric and in-your-face confrontationism of the Bush years were ratcheted down somewhat. Ambassadors were again exchanged with Venezuela and Bolivia. At the OAS Summit in Trinidad, Obama was photographed shaking hands with Hugo Chavez. Nevertheless, the aims of US policy were unchanged. (And, in recent months, alongside the shift to direct contention again with Cuba, there has been a ramping up of political hostility, demonization, and destabilization against the Hugo Chavez government in Venezuela. Corporate media outlets such as the Wall Street Journal and the New York Post and the increasingly bellicose and conservative editorial page of the Washington Post have echoed, albeit more harshly, the US State Department government line painting a picture of Venezuela in utter economic and social chaos with a repressive government lashing out at dissent and “dropping the mask of democracy.”) On Cuba Obama quickly adjusted US policy on some secondary questions – in the face of themounting Hemispheric and near-unanimous international opposition to the US economic, financial, and commercial embargo – in order to more credibly defend and promote the core policy aim which remains the overturning of the revolutionary government, the destruction of the social relations and conquests of the Revolution, and the restoration of capitalism and US domination. Obama fulfilled his campaign promise to end existing travel restrictions for Cuban-Americans; has eased somewhat the ability of some Cuban academics, musicians, artists, and scientists to visit the US and some similar US categories and individuals to legally travel to Cuba at the invitation of Cuban society. Also, there has been a slight US liberalization in granting so-called “people to people” licenses. Nevertheless, so far, the Obama moves still are far from taking us to where the policy on exchanges and licenses was under Clinton and the first several years of the George W. Bush Administration. These anorexic measures, doled out with an eyedropper, are presented by Obama and Clinton as bold moves begging for a Cuban response. They are saying in essence: “We’ve done our bit, now you must basically commit suicide and end the Revolution in exchange.”
And, their weak criticism of the War on Terror strengthens capitalists by obscuring class division. Framing imperialism as simply a matter of changing bad policies leads to bankrupt coalitions that co-opt true revolutionary change.
International Communist League 2006 [The "War on Terror" and the Imperialist World Order, Workers Vanguard No. 881, 24 November 2006, http://www.icl-fi.org/english/wv/881/terrorism.html]
Marxists oppose individual terrorism as a political strategy, even that terrorism which is derivedfrom real, if misguided, anti-racist or anti-imperialist impulses and takes as its target genuine institutions or agents of state repression (manifestly not the case in the attack on the World Trade Center). Such individual acts, however heroic in particular circumstances, are counterposed to the proletarian class struggle and the consciousness the working class needs if it is to stand at the head of the oppressed in the revolutionary overthrow of the capitalist imperialist system. As Trotsky wrote in his 1911 article, in regard to the left-wing populist terrorists in late tsarist Russia: “In our eyes, individual terror is inadmissible precisely because it belittles the role of the masses in their own consciousness, reconciles them to their powerlessness, and turns their eyes and hopes toward a great avenger and liberator who some day will come and accomplish his mission” (emphasis in original). Despite our political opposition to the strategy of terrorism, the International Communist League has consistently defended individuals and organizations targeted for bourgeois state repression for carrying out attacks against the class enemy. The SL/U.S., for example, has defended the Ohio 7, leftist activists who were convicted for their role in a radical group that took credit for “bank expropriations” and bombings in the late 1970s and ’80s against symbols of U.S. imperialism, such as military and corporate offices. Two of the Ohio 7 remain in prison (see article, page 2). Likewise, our comrades of the Trotskyist Group of Greece call on the workers movement to defend the November 17 group against the Greek bourgeois state. Ward Churchill, a radical professor at the University of Colorado, argued in his September 2001 essay, “Some People Push Back: On the Justice of Roosting Chickens,” that the September 11 attacks were a response in kind to the crimes of U.S. imperialism against the peoples of the Third World. As a consequence, he has been the target of a right-wing campaign to drive him and other critics of government policy off campus. As we have stated, Churchill must be vigorously defended against the McCarthyite witchhunt (see “Hands Off Ward Churchill!” WV No. 873, 7 July). Churchill denies any meaningful distinction between the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in what he sees as a counterstrike by oppressed and therefore good Third World peoples against the bad peoples of the First World. According to Churchill, all Americans collectively partake of guilt for U.S. imperialism’s crimes insofar as they have not fought to stop them. But far from being a “terrorist sympathizer,” as rightists outrageously contend, Churchill aims to shame American imperialism into cleaning up its act. And, as is typical of New Left-style radicals and nationalists the world over, Churchill’s outlook divides the world into good peoples and bad peoples rather than into opposing classes. Churchill does not pretend to be a Marxist and thus is at least consistent in disregarding the explosive class contradictions at the base of American society. Not so the reformist leftists whocover with empty socialist phrases what are in reality nothing but liberal bourgeois politics. “Gov’t Policy Puts People in Harm’s Way,” declared Workers World (27 September 2001) following September 11. “The military response to terrorism just perpetuates the cycle of terrorism and counterterrorism,” wrote radical-liberal professor Howard Zinn, uncritically quoted in the International Socialist Organization’s Socialist Worker (14 September 2001). These groups promote the illusion that imperialist militarism is a bad policy that can be eliminated from the capitalist system if sufficient pressure is applied. To this end, they seek to form a “coalition” with the liberal wing of the capitalist class, represented by a section of the Democratic Party. Contrary to the preachings of the reformist fake socialists, the capitalist state cannot be wielded by the exploited and the oppressed to serve their interests. In order to defend itself, the working class must mobilize independently of all the agencies and parties of its class enemy. In order to sweep away this ruling class and open the road to a world free of class exploitation, war and all forms of oppression, the working class must take control of society in its own hands through a socialist revolution that breaks up and destroys the capitalist state and establishes in its place a workers state based on a planned, collectivized economy.
Capitalism causes endless war and the creation of death zones globally, and especially in Latin America. The world of peace promised by the affirmative is a mask for capitalism’s continual production of death, dispossession, and violence as a condition of its existence.
Banerjee, professor at the international graduate school of business at the University of South Australia, 2008 [Subhabrata, Necrocapitalism, Organization Studies 2008 29: 1541]
Locating imperialism and the legacies of colonialism in contemporary forms of capitalism is central to the theoretical development of necrocapitalism. Violence, dispossession, and death that result frompractices of accumulation occur in spaces that seem to be immune from legal, juridical, and political intervention, resulting in a suspension of sovereignty. In the modern era the democratization of sovereignty is still fundamentally determined by and grounded in mechanisms of disciplinary coercion (Foucault 1980) – coercion that was more apparent and visible during colonial times but is more sophisticated in its operation in the postcolonial era. Drawing on Carl Schmitt’s (1985) definition of sovereignty as one ‘who decides on the state of exception’, Agamben (1998: 17) argues that through the state of exception, the sovereign ‘creates and guarantees the situation that the law needs for its own validity’. Agamben describes the Nazi state, the current status of Palestine, and ‘legal civil wars’ as examples of states of exception in the modern era. The US Naval Station at Guantánamo Bay is perhaps one of the latest examples of a state of exception where ‘enemy combatants’ that are incarcerated there are not legal subjects or prisoners of war but have become ‘legally unnameable and unclassifiable beings entirely removed from the law and from judicial oversight’ (Agamben 2005: 4). Violence, torture, and death can occur in this space of exception without political or juridical intervention. The state of exception thus creates a zone where the application of law is suspended but the law remains in force. Agamben (1998: 27) develops the ancient Roman legal notion of homo sacer or sacred man – ‘one who may be killed but not sacrificed’. In ancient Roman law, homo sacer referred to people whose deaths were of no value to the gods and thus could not be sacrificed but could be killed with impunity because their lives were deemed be of no value to society. Homo sacer occupied a space both outside (and hence inside) divine law and juridical law; they were objects of sovereign power but excluded from being its subjects; ‘mute bearers of bare life deprived of language and the political life that language makes possible’ (Gregory 2004: 63). A sovereign decision to apply a state of exception invokes a power to decide the value of life, which would allow a life to be taken without the charge of homicide. The killings of mentally and physically handicapped people during the Nazi regime was justified as ending a ‘life devoid of value’, a life ‘unworthy to be lived’. Sovereignty thus becomes a decision on thevalue of life, ‘a power to decide the point at which life ceases to be politically relevant’ (Agamben 1998: 142). Sovereignty has always been a moving target and despite Westphalian notions of the independence and ‘supreme authority’ of nation states, the jurisdiction of borders have been routinely transgressed as ‘sovereignty has become progressively unbundled from territoriality’ (Raustiala 2005). Far from being a fixed political and legal category, sovereignty was always a ‘sociological praxis full of exceptions, fissures and fractures’ (Shenhav and Berda 2008). Benton’s (2002: 10) analysis of legal politics during the colonial era reveals what she calls the ‘jurisdictional politics’ of conflicts arising from multiple legal procedures and authorities. ‘Jurisdictional fluidity’ and ‘legal jockeying’ enabled the creation of a space to govern the colonies in India and Africa while expanding European claims to sovereignty. In the historical praxis of colonialism the state of exception in the colonies was more the rule, resulting in multiple and interrupted sovereignties that were used to govern the natives. However, in both Foucault’s formulation of sovereignty and the production of the biopolitical body and Agamben’s deployment of homo sacer and states of exception, the omission of the colony is notable. The colony, as Mbembe (2003: 14) points out, represented a permanent state of exception where sovereignty became an exercise of power outside the law, where ‘peace was more likely to take on the face of a war without end and where violence could operate in the name of civilization’. In fact, as Anghie (2005) points out, colonialism and imperialism (Anghie uses these terms interchangeably) were constitutive of European notions of sovereignty, international law, and development. Discourses of ‘civilization’ and ‘development’, for example, created and sustained the binary categories of civilized–barbaric and developed–underdeveloped, where sovereignty always remained on the side of the ‘civilized’ and ‘developed’. Once sovereignty was established along the dimensions of civilization and development, the key ‘universal’ problem was how to create order among sovereign states by developing techniques to ‘normalize the aberrant society’ (Anghie 2005: 4). As Hussain (2003) argues, the historical formation of colonialism reveals the self-generative epistemic space of the West in its ability to create the rule and the exception. Thus, the European notion of sovereignty that became the basis of international law has its roots in colonialism and tends to reproduce and reinforce colonial modes of control even in the present era. While transgressions of sovereignty were common in the colonial era where the colony marked a permanent state of exception, there are different levels of sovereignties in today’s neoliberal political economy. In contemporary political economy, states of exception, uneven sovereignties, and gradations of rights are produced and maintained by what Stoler (2006: 128) calls ‘imperial formations’ which she describes as ‘states of becoming, rather than being’. Imperial formations in today’s political economy do not reflect a ‘steady state’ enclosed by national sovereign boundaries but have more to do with how the economy and polity are organized. A ‘politics of dislocation’ characterizes imperial formations involving ‘systematic recruits and transfers of colonial agents, native military, redistribution of peoples and resources, relocations and dispersions, contiguous and overseas territories’ (Stoler 2006: 138). States of exception created by imperial formations are notrestricted to the former colonies ‘out there’ but include ‘the West’. The ‘West’ operates not so much as a particular set of geographical locations, or indeed a specific collection of locationally defined peoples, but is a discursive space formed by a network of economic and power relations (Banerjee and Linstead 2001). Spaces of imperial exception also occur in metropolitan contexts – for example, the migrant bodies, the ‘illegal’ or ‘undocumented bodies’ that labor in the ‘ethnic enclaves’ that contain the sweatshops of New York, London, and Paris (Ong 2006). The American brand of neoliberalism that seems to be embraced by the supranational institutions that govern the global economy and adopted by several countries in the developing world represents a type of ‘radicalized capitalist imperialism’ (Ong 2006: 1) that is increasingly tied tomilitary action, often in the name of maintaining ‘security’. The imperial formations that create states of exception and multiple sovereignties in the postcolonial era are enabled and sustained by the formation of economic states of exception created by neoliberal policies. Thus, ‘neoliberalism as exception’ produces specific arrangements of sovereignty and citizenship that are enabled by the ‘infiltration of market logic into politics’ while constructing subjectivities that reflect market citizenship and a ‘reconfiguration of relationships between governing and the governed, power and knowledge and sovereignty and territoriality’ (Ong 2006: 6). If the sword of commerce was most visibly active in the days of empire, its activity in the postcolonial era continued the violence in a more covert manner, often with the complicity of the political elites in the former colonies. Ong (2006) develops the notion of ‘graduated sovereignty’ to describe how some countries in South East Asia, notably the so-called ‘Asian tigers’, embraced the global market with a combination of governmental political strategies and military repression. Her research on globalization in Indonesia and Malaysia showed that the interaction between states and transnational capital resulted in a differential state treatment of the population already fragmented by race, ethnicity, gender, class, and religion as well as a reconfiguration of power and authority in the hands of transnational corporations operating in special export processing zones. The neoliberal turn in these regions follows a different trajectory where the interplay of market versus state results in differing levels of sovereignty: some areas of the economy have a very strong state presence and in other areas, markets and foreign capital rule. State sovereignty is dispersed because global markets and capital, with the collusion of governments, create states of exception where coercion, violence, and killings occur. State repression against rebel populationsand separatist movements isoften influenced by market forces: as Ong (2006) argues, territories are cleared of rebels (‘outlawed citizens’) to make way for logging concessions, petroleum pipelines, mines, and dams. Thus, necrocapitalism creates states of exceptions where ‘democratic rights are confined to a political sphere’ while continuing forms of domination, exploitation, and violence in other domains (Wood 2003: 80). Accumulation by Death and Dispossession Violence, death, and dispossession and their relationship with capitalism is not new: in Volume I ofCapital, Marx (1867: 926) wrote: ‘If money comes into the world with a congenital blood stain on one cheek, thencapital comes dripping from head to toe, from every pore, with blood and dirt.’ Early capitalist practices of recruiting labor involved violence, often sanctioned by law. The legislation against ‘vagabondage’, for example, transformed peasants who were driven off the land into vagabonds to be ‘whipped, branded, tortured by laws grotesquely terrible, into the discipline necessary for the wage system’ (Marx 1867: 899). Colonialism added a racial dimension to the exploitation of labor – for example, Marx describes the colonial capitalist practices in Africa as ‘extirpation, enslavement and entombment in mines of the aboriginal population … and the turning of Africa into a warren for the commercial hunting of black skins’ (Marx 1867: 915). In his analysis of death metaphors in Marx’s work, Neocleous (2003) draws parallels between capital and death, arguing that Marx’s critique of political economy is ultimately a ‘political economy of the dead’. At various points in Capital, Marx refers to capital as ‘dead labor’ in opposition to ‘living labor’ where capitalist rule is the ‘independent conditions of labor over the worker … the rule of things over man, of dead labor over living’ (Marx 1867: 989). However, rather than reduce death to distinctions between labor whether in a colonial or a metropolitan context, it is necessary to understand necrocapitalism as a practice that operates through the establishment of colonial sovereignty, and the manner in which this sovereignty is established in the current political economy where the business of death can take place through states of exception. In the postcolonial era the imperial prerogative, as Chatterjee (2005: 495) argues, is the ‘power to declare the colonial exception’. Thus, while the ‘international community’ agrees that nuclear proliferation should be stopped, it becomes an imperial right for some to decide that while India and Israel may be allowed to have nuclear weapons, it is unacceptable for North Korea or Iran to do so. The entities in this colonial space of exception must either be disciplined by violence or ‘civilized by culture’ to become normalized. The colonial state of exception is also thespace where more profits accrue whether it is through the extraction of resources, the use of privatized militias or through contracts for reconstruction. In this sense, it is necessary to read the manner in which colonial sovereignty operates to create states of exception conducive to the operation of necrocapitalist practices. Mbembe (2003) extends Foucault’s notion of sovereignty as power that produces and regulates a biopolitical body, or the power to ‘make live or let die’ (Foucault, 1978) to develop his concept of necropolitical power that involves the subjugation of life to the power of death. These forms of necropolitical power literally create ‘death worlds, new and unique forms of social existence in which vast populations are subjected to conditions of life conferring upon them the status of the living dead’ (Mbembe 2003: 40). Situating necropolitics in the context of economy, Montag (2005: 11) argues that if necropolitics is interested in the production of death or subjugating life to the power of death then it is possible to speak of a necroeconomics – a space of ‘letting die or exposing to death’. Montag explores the relation of the market to life and death in his reading of Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations and Theory of Moral Sentiments(Smith 1986). In Montag’s reading of Smith, it is ‘the dread of death, the great poison to the happiness ... which while it afflicts and mortifies the individual, guards and protects the society’ (cited in Montag 2005: 12). If social life was driven solely by unrestrained self-interest, then the fear of punishment or death through juridical systems kept the pursuit of excessive self-interest in check, otherwise people would simply rob, injure, and kill for material wealth. Thus, for Smith the universality of life is contingent on the particularity of death, the production of life on the production of death where the intersection of the political and the economic makes it necessary to exercise the right to kill. The market then, as a ‘concrete form of the universal’ becomes the ‘very form of universality as life’ and requires at certain moments to ‘let die’. Or as Montag theorizes it, ‘Death establishes the conditions of life; death as by an invisible hand restores the market to what it must be to support life. The allowing of death of the particular is necessary to the production of life of the universal. The market reduces and rations life; it not only allows death, it demands death be allowed by the sovereign power, as well as by those who suffer it. In other words, it demands and requires the latter allow themselves to die. Thus alongside the figure of homo sacer, the one who may be killed with impunity, is another figure, one whose death is no doubt less spectacular than the first and is the object of no memorial or commemoration: he who with impunity may be allowed to die, slowly or quickly, in the name of the rationality and equilibrium of the market’. (Montag 2005: 15) Montag, therefore, theorizes a necroeconomics where the state becomes the legitimate purveyor of violence: in this scenario, the state can compel by force ‘those who refuse to allow themselves to die’ (Montag 2005: 15). However, Montag’s concept of necroeconomics appears to universalize conditions of poverty through the logic of the market. My concern, however, is the creation of death worlds in colonial contexts through the collusion between states and corporations. If states and corporations work in tandem with each other in colonial contexts, creating states of exception and exercising necropower to profit from the death worlds that they establish, then necroeconomics fails to consider the specificities of colonial capitalist practices. I argue that necrocapitalism emerges from the intersection of necropolitics and necroeconomics, as practices of accumulation in (post)colonial contexts by specific economic actors – transnational corporations, for example – that involve dispossession, death, torture, suicide, slavery, destruction of livelihoods, and the general management of violence. It is a new form of imperialism, an imperialism that has learned to ‘manage things better’. The fundamental feature of necrocapitalism is accumulation by dispossession and the creation of death worlds in colonial contexts. Land privatization and the subsequent forceful expulsion of peasants, conversion of public property into private property, restrictions on public use of common property resources, neocolonial practices of asset appropriation, control over natural resources in the former colonies, and the suppression of alternate, indigenous forms of consumption and production are some forms of dispossession in contemporary political economy (Harvey 2005: 145). In contemporary forms of accumulation, the corporation is a powerful actor and in conjunction with nation states, supranational bodies, and international agencies contributes to a necrocapitalist privatization of sovereignty. The transformation of European colonialism to a new ‘imperialism without colonies’ also required coercive power and brute force often with the collusion of postcolonial political elites in the former colonies where local states emerged as sites of power for capitalist accumulation. Thus, rather than marking the ‘death of the nation state’, the globalizationof markets is dependent on a system of multiple states which required ‘a new doctrine of extra-economic, especially military, coercion. An endless invisible empire, which has no boundaries, even no territory, requires war without end, an infinite war, and a new doctrine of war to justify it’ (Wood 2003: 161). And to further clarify the relationship between markets and war, President George W. Bush, in an attempt to address concerns about the dramatic decline in tourism and air travel in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, told airline employees that ‘one of the great goals of this war is to tell the traveling public: Get on board’ (cited in Gregory 2004). Thus, for the American tourist to ‘get on board’ to enjoy a holiday, stimulate the tourism market, and save airline jobs it becomes necessary for some people to die, as homo sacer, in a state of exception outside national and international law. The creation of new spaces of exceptions is a weapon for the ideological arsenal of empire where the imposition of an economic relationship becomes paramount, using force if required. Thus, the right to rule is justified ‘by the right, indeed the obligation, to produce exchange value’ (Wood 2003: 157). Economic domination where markets manage much of the imperial work extends the powers and reach of colonial states. New economic doctrines require new military doctrines as well. War without end does not necessarily mean endless fighting: the coercive mechanisms of capital require an endless possibility of war. ‘War without end’ has an impressive genealogy in the West. Woodrow Wilson wrote in 1907: ‘Since trade ignores national boundaries and the manufacturer insists on having the world as a market, the flag of his nation must follow him, and the doors of the nations which are closed against him must be battered down. Concessions obtained by financiers must be safeguarded by ministers of state, even if the sovereignty of unwilling nations be outraged in the process. Colonies must be obtained or planted, in order that no useful corner of the world may be overlooked … The seed of war in the modern world is industrial and commercial rivalry.’ (cited in Katz 2006) The nexus between economic interests and military power, which characterized the colonial project, continues to operate in the new imperial formations that constitute the contemporary neoliberal project and is another enabling condition of necrocapitalism.Political sovereignty becomes subservient to corporate sovereignty and economics rather than politics determines warzones. In imperial formations, power is deployed to repress ‘symptoms of despair’, and to establish behavioral and economic norms in ‘a system for regulating disorder’ (Joxe 2002: 14). The involvement of US multinationals along with the CIA in fomenting military and political coups in Latin America (notably United Fruit Inc. in Guatemala and Colombia and ITT in Chile and Brazil) is well documented (Dosal 1993; Grandin 2006). Millions of dollars were spent by the US government to destabilize Chile in the 1970s – on learning that Chile had elected a Marxist president in 1970, Nixon instructed the CIA to ‘make their economy scream’ in an effort to ‘smash Allende’ (Grandin 2006). Corporate strategies to ensure ‘safe havens’ for their investment included obtaining US government support for dictatorial regimes, violent reprisals using state military and police to suppress dissent, and bribes and kickbacks to political elites. Because violence was deployed in these states of exception, both governments and corporations were able to kill with impunity: Colombia in 1929, when the military gunned down striking United Fruit workers killing at least 400 (Kepner and Soothill 1935), and the US-backed military coup in Guatemala in 1954, where more than 200 union leaders were killed, are two of the more widely publicized cases involving violence and multinational capital (Chomsky and Herman 1979). Privatization of the commons through corporate control of natural resources is another ‘sword of commerce’ that subjugates lives and destroys livelihoods by creating states of exceptionin many developing regions. In Latin America, for example, it is estimated that more than 2000 government industries were sold off between 1985 and 1992, many of them below their market value to private buyers ‘with connections’ to the military and US corporate and government interests (Grandin 2006). The collusion of local states is instrumental in the battle over natural resources: a 1975 Philippine government advertisement placed in Fortune magazine declared: ‘To attract companies like yours ... we have felled mountains, razed jungles, filled swamps, moved rivers, relocated towns … all to make it easier for you and your business to do business here’ (cited in Korten 1995). The effects of creating a ‘business friendly climate’ are often violent, leading to loss of life and the creation of death worlds. For instance, a combination of trade liberalization in agriculture (agriculture is ‘liberalized’ in the Third World and protected in the First) and the failure of genetically modified seeds has been linked to a 260% increase in suicide rates of farmers in India (Milmo 2005). More than 4000 farmers have committed suicide in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh since the imposition of agricultural reforms. The suicide rate among farmers is the highest in cash crop growing regions. In 2005 there were 520 suicides by farmers in Vidarbha, the largest cotton growing region in India. Six journalists covered the ‘farmer suicides story’ in February 2006. That same week 512 journalists were jostling for space in Mumbai for the Lakme Fashion Week where models were exhibiting the new chic cotton dresses made from cotton grown by farmers who were killing themselves less than 500km away. Roy (2001: 46) claims that ‘India’s rural economy which supports 700 million people, is being garroted. Farmers who produce too much are in distress, farmers who produce too little are in distress, and landless agricultural laborers are out of work as big estates and farms lay off their workers. They’re all flocking to already overcrowded cities in search of employment.’ Roy (2001) has also documented the displacement of villagers in large-scale dam projects in India. She estimates that between 30 and 50 million people have lost their traditional lands as a result of dam projects. A single project, the Sardar Sarovar dam project will displace 400,000 tribal peoples once it is completed. is the case in all developing countries, the dispossessed do not participate in any of the benefits: the electricity generated by the dams is for use by city dwellers and the water for irrigating large industrial agriculture farms. Necrocapitalist practices deny people access to resources that are essential to their health and life, destroy livelihoods, and dispossess communities. The privatization of water in Africa and South America is a case in point: in almost every case where water was privatized the poorer segments of society ended up paying not only higher prices for water but paid with their lives as well. In South Africa during 2002–2003 more than 100,000 people were infected with cholera, leading to the deaths of 200 people after the South African government (following World Bank ‘recommendations’) denied water and sanitation services to thousands of citizens in KwaZulu-Natal province who were too poor to pay their water bills (Barlow and Clarke 2002). World Bank water policies encourage ‘cost recovery’: however, the problem is that corporate costs are recovered at the expense of people who are denied access to clean water and sanitation. Race and class also determine who suffers, who lives and who dies: in South Africa 600,000 white farmers consume 60% of the country’s water supplies for irrigation while 15 million black people have no access to clean water (Barlow and Clarke 2002). A similar situation exists in the maquiladoras of Mexico where clean water is scarce because it is mainly reserved for use by foreign-owned industries in the region. And when Bolivia’s economy was ‘structurally adjusted’ by the World Bank, one of the conditions was to sell off the national water company, which the Bolivian government did to Bechtel. Not long after the purchase, water bills rose by 200% for an already impoverished citizenry, with the government even attempting to charge citizens for collecting rainwater for personal use. Extended protests by the people forced the Bolivian government to take over the water supply again, leading Bechtel to exit Bolivia, albeit with a $25 million payout (Grandin 2006). Other contemporary cases of accumulation by dispossession that can be seen as necrocapitalist practices are the privatization of war resulting from the increasing use of privatized military forces and conflicts over natural resources between transnational corporations and indigenous communities in the Third World, which I will discuss in the next section.
The alternative is solidarity with revolutionary struggle against capitalism. Voting negative is a refusal of the tepid half-measures of the 1AC in favor of clearing the space for a truly just and equitable society.
Marcuse, German Philosopher and Professor at Columbia and Harvard, 1969 (Herbert, member of the Frankfurt School, An Essay on Liberation, p. 85-91) *GENDER MODIFIED
In a sense, this is indeed the community of interests of the "haves" against the "have nots," of the Old against the New. The "collaborationist" policy of the Soviet Union necessitates the pursuance of power politics which increasingly reduces the prospect that Soviet society, by virtue of its basic institutions alone (abolition of private ownership and control of the means of production: planned economy) is still capable of making the transition to a free society. And yet, the very dynamic of imperialist expansion places the Soviet Union in the other camp: would the effective resistance in Vietnam, and the protection of Cuba be possible without Soviet aid? However, while we reject the unqualified convergence thesis, according to which -at least at present -the assimilation of interests prevails UPOIl the conflict between capitalism and Soviet Socialism, we cannot minimize the essential difference between the latter and the new historical efforts to construct socialism by developing and creating a genuine solidarity between the leadership and the liberated victims of exploitation. The actual may considerably deviate rom the ideal, the fact remains that, for a whole generation, "freedom," "socialism," and "liberation" are inseparable from Fidel and Che and the guerrillas -not because their revolutionary struggle could furnish the model for the struggle in the metropoles, but because they have recaptured the truth of these ideas, in the day-to-day fight of men and women for a life as human beings: for a new life. What kind of life? We are still confronted with the demand to state the "concrete alternative." The demand is meaningless if it asks for a blueprint of the specific institutions and relationships which would be those of the new society: they cannot be determined a priori; they will develop, in trial and error, as the new society develops. If we could form a concrete concept of the alternative today, it would not be that of an alternative; the possibilities of the new society are sufficiently "abstract," i.e., removed from and incongruous with the established universe to defy any attempt to identify them in terms of this universe. However, the question cannot be brushed aside by saying that what matters today is the destruction of the old, of the powers that be, making way for the emergence of the new. Such an answer neglects the essential fact that the old is not simply bad, that it delivers the goods, and that people have a real stake in it. There can be societies which are much worse – there are such societies today. The system of corporate capitalism has the right to insist that those who work for its replacement justify their action. But the demand to state the concrete alternatives is justified for yet another reason. Negative thinking draws whatever force it may have from its empirical basis: the actual human condition in the given society, and the "given" possibilities to transcend this condition, to enlarge the realm of freedom. In this sense, negative thinking is by virtue of its own internal concepts "positive": oriented toward, and comprehending a future which is "contained" in the present. And in this containment (which is an important aspect of the general containment policy pursued by the established societies), the future appears as possible liberation. It is not the only alternative: the advent of a long period of "civilized" barbarism, with or without the nuclear destruction, is equally contained in the present. Negative thinking, and the praxis guided by it, is the positive and positing effort to prevent this utter negativity. The concept of the primary, initial institutions of liberation is familiar enough and concrete enough: collective ownership, collective control and planning of the means of production and distribution. This is the foundation, a necessary but not sufficient condition for the alternative: it would make possible the usage of all available resources for the abolition of poverty, which is the prerequisite for the turn from quantity into quality: the creation of a reality in accordance with the new sensitivity and the new consciousness. This goal implies rejection of those policies of reconstruction, no matter how revolutionary, which are bound to perpetuate (or to introduce) the pattern of the unfree societies and their needs. Such false policy is perhaps best summed up in the formula "to catch up with, and to overtake the productivity level of the advanced capitalist countries." What is wrong with this formula is not the emphasis on the rapid improvement of the material conditions but on the model guiding their improvement. The model denies the alternative, the qualitative difference. The latter is not, and cannot be, the result of the fastest possible attainment of capitalist productivity, but rather the development of new modes and ends of production "new" not only (and perhaps not at all) with respect to technical innovations and production relations, but with respect to the different human needs and the different human relationships in working for the satisfaction of these needs. These new relationships would be the result of a "biological" solidarity in work and purpose, expressive of a true harmony between social and individual needs and goals, between recognized necessity and free development -the exact opposite of the administered and enforced harmony organized in the advanced capitalist (and socialist?) countries. It is the image of this solidarity as elemental, instinctual, creative force which the young radicals see in Cuba, in the guerrillas, in the Chinese cultural revolution. Solidarity and cooperation: not all their forms are liberating. Fascism and militarism have developed a deadly efficient solidarity. Socialist solidarity is autonomy: selfdetermination begins at home -and that is with every I, and the We whom the I chooses. And this end must indeed appear in the means to attain it, that is to say, in the strategy of those who, within the existing society, work for the new one. If the socialist relationships of production are to be a new way of life, a new Form of life, then their existential quality must show forth, anticipated and demonstrated, in the fight for their realization. Exploitation in all its forms must have disappeared from this fight: from the work relationships among the fighters as well as from their individual relationships. Understanding, tenderness toward each other, the instinctual consciousness of that which is evil, false, the heritage of oppression, would then testify to the authenticity of the rebellion. In short, the economic, political, and cultural features of a classless society must have become the basic needs of those who fight for it. This ingression of the future into the present, this depth dimension of the rebellion accounts, in the last analysis, for the incompatibility with the traditional forms of the political struggle. The new radicalism militates against the centralized bureaucratic communist as well as against the semi-democratic liberal organization. There is a strong element of spontaneity, even anarchism, in this rebellion, expression of the new sensibility, sensitivity against domination: the feeling, the awareness, that the joy of freedom and the need to be free must precede liberation. Therefore the aversion against preestablished Leaders, apparatchiks of all sorts, politicians no matter how leftist. The initiative shifts to small groups, widely diffused, with a high degree of autonomy, mobility, flexibility. To be sure, within the repressive society, and against its ubiquitous apparatus, spontaneity by itself cannot possibly be a radical and revolutionary force. It can become such a force only as the result of enlightenment, education, political practice -in this sense indeed, as a result of organization. The anarchic element is an essential factor in the struggle against domination: preserved but disciplined in the preparatory political action, it will be freed and aufgehoben in the goals of the struggle. Released for the construction of the initial revolutionary institutions, the antirepressive sensibility, allergic to domination, would militate against the prolongation of the "First Phase," that is, the authoritarian bureaucratic development of the productive forces. The new society could then reach relatively fast the level at which poverty could be abolished (this level could be considerably lower than that of advanced capitalist productivity, which is geared to obscene aflluence and waste). Then the development could tend toward a sensuous culture, tangibly contrasting with the gray-on-gray culture of the socialist societies of Eastern Europe. Production would be redirected in defiance of all the rationality of the Performance Principle; socially necessary labor would be diverted to the construction of an aesthetic rather than repressive environment, to parks and gardens rather than highways and parking lots, to the creation of areas of withdrawal rather than massive fun and relaxation. Such redistribution of socially necessary labor (time), incompatible with any society governed by the Profit and Performance Principle, would gradually alter society in all its dimensions -it would mean the ascent of the Aesthetic Principle as Form of the Reality Principle: a culture of receptivity based on the achievements of industrial civilization and initiating the end of its self-propelling productiVity. Not regression to a previous stage of civilization, but return to an imaginary temps perdu in the real life of [hu]mankind: progress to a stage of civilization where [hu]man[s] has learned to ask for the sake of whom or of what [s/]he organizes his[/her] society; the stage where he checks and perhaps even halts his incessant struggle for existence on an enlarged scale, surveys what has been achieved through centuries of misery and hecatombs of victims, and decides that it is enough, and that it is time to enjoy what he has and what can be reproduced and refined with a minimum of alienated labor: not the arrest or reduction of technical progress, but the elimination of those of its features which perpetuate [hu]man[ity]'s subjection to the apparatus and the intensification of the struggle for existence -to work harder in order to get more of the merchandise that has to be sold. In other words, electrification indeed, and all technical devices which alleviate and protect life, all the mechanization which frees human energy and time, all the standardization which does away with spurious and parasitarian "personalized" services rather than multiplying them and the gadgets and tokens of exploitative affiuence. In terms of the latter (and only in terms of the latter), this would certainly be a regression -but freedom from the rule of merchandise over man is a precondition of freedom. The construction of a free society would create new incentives for work. In the exploitative societies, the so-called work instinct is mainly the (more or less effectively) introjected necessity to perform productively in order to earn a living. But the life instincts themselves strive for the unification and enhancement of life; in nonrepressive sublimation they would provide the libidinal energy for work on the development of a reality which no longer demands the exploitative repression of the Pleasure Principle. The "incentives" would then be built into the instinctual structure of men. Their sensibility would register, as biological reactions, the difference between the ugly and the beautiful, between calm and noise, tenderness and brutality, intelligence and stupidity, joy and fun, and it would correlate this distinction with that between freedom and servitude. Freud's last theoretical conception recognizes the erotic instincts as work instincts -work for the creation of a sensuous environment. The social expression of the liberated work instinct is cooperation, which, grounded in solidarity, directs the organization of the realm of necessity and the development of the realm of freedom. And there is an answer to the question which troubles the minds of so many men of good will: what are the people in a free society going to do? The answer which, I believe, strikes at the heart of the matter was given by a young black girl. She said: for the first time in our life, we shall be free to think about what we are going to do.