Creative subversions: a politics beyond representation in the UK

Guest post by Charlotte Lattimer, Christopher Collier, Jaideep Shah, Katherine Burrows, Matthew Woodcraft and Saoirse Fitzpatrick, who write ‘as students, members of the University for Strategic Optimism, self-ascribed activists, friends…the list is infinitely long. We do not write or speak from one ground, nor do we represent ourselves on these multiple grounds. These categories or identities have no logical essence or order but are fluid and are evoked in specific contexts that allow for no systematic unity’.

Read the entire article here: Creative Subversions

an excerpt to wet your appetite (see you in college – struggle):

….we have witnessed and participated in some of the most creative protests and direct actions of recent decades. Our sentiment carries with it the rumbling sensation of a destabilising and fracturing of the normative capitalist ordering of space and time. Students and workers across the country have been challenging and subverting what has now been starkly revealed as the desiring-machine of neo-liberal logic: its bleak ‘commonsense’ that seeks to reduce our lives to a base functionalism where everything, including our hobbies, interests, desires, joys, and excesses, are given their proper place and time as long as they do not undermine the productivity of our monadic working capacities and ‘citizenships’. Places and times of subjecthood(s) are proscribed and conditioned by aggressive marketing so as to complement and enhance, as Foucault might term it, the ‘biopolitical’, or rather, the government’s maximum extraction of labour from the people(s) at its most cost-effective rate. Life itself becomes just another surplus to be reinvested into circuits of ever-enhanced ‘efficiency’.

Of course, not everyone in society is subject to this ordering of time and space. Those who elude such an ordering are not only those that own capital in the orthodox Marxist sense, but those who have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo – where wealth and knowledge is concentrated amongst a very few whose positions and organisational structures tie other ‘professional’ workers into hierarchical socio-economies – those who are figured as untouchable by the protections of the political establishment. Mainstream political parties have refined their political duplicity to a performative art. In collusion with the mainstream media, these politicians project the appearance of concern, albeit to the interests of the centre, whereas privately they gladly and sincerely vouchsafe the interests of an economically powerful elite. Hence, when the thousands of protestors first marched and occupied the Conservative party headquarters at Millbank on 10th November, it was not some ‘violent’ catharsis of a naive group, or the criminal act of a selfish few, as has been articulated by a plethora of useless commentaries. On the contrary, it was a declaration that we(s) will not be fooled by our politicians’ appearances. ‘Representation’ is the contriving of various appearances: where our allegedly representational democracy manifests the appearance of democracy, the irruption of embodied direct actions discloses the politics of appearance and disowns it. This initial rupturing of normative spatial order has cleaved the physical securities upon which government writes its authority from the discursive mythologies that prop its ‘legitimacy’ up. A lightening flash of illumination has reinforced the lucid and energetic perception of the deep cracks and splinters that pervade the structure of the economy, and reveals thus the edifice of ‘right’-as-property upon which its apparent stability relies. ….

Read the entire article here: Creative Subversions


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