requiem for certainty

Archive for November 2011

The Question and the Arrow

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Speaking of Occupation. We are witness today, directly and actually, to an unprecedented global occupation movement.  The motion of this movement is putting the question to the dominant forms of political organization characterizing our historical present.

In speaking of this movement, I would not propose to speak to the movement and most certainly not for the movement.  Rather I would like to position myself today as someone who speaks with the movement from a position that is alongside the movement parallel to it.  I shall not presume to state what the movement is about (speaking for) nor what the movement should be about (speaking to), but only about some of the things that this occupation is directly and actually doing, as seen from a space that is parallel to and adjacent with occupation (speaking with).

The parallel and adjacent position from which I shall be speaking is that of political philosophy.  You might think of we political philosophers as those of your friends (and frienemies) who get paid to be obsessive over contemporary politics, and especially the conditions thereof.  In speaking of the mobilization that is taking place with the occupations, the role of the political philosopher is that of helping to make sense of this mobilization by articulating some of the concepts that would be adequate to its conditions.  It is in this sense that I write from a position that is right up next to (adjacent) and tracking along with (parallel) the occupations.  What I would like to say, then, are only a few things about what the occupation provokes and excites, but also disturbs and afflicts, in a space adjacent and parallel to it.

Two Simple Ideas. I will attempt to speak today to only two ideas.  The first is this: the occupation provokes us to think about politics as a practice of problematization, or what might more simply be described in terms of the idea of politics as questioning.  The second idea is this: the occupation provokes us to think about politics as a practice that is procedural as much as it is substantive, or what I might more simply describe in terms of the idea of politics as involving processes that concern how we do what we do. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Colin Koopman

November 7, 2011 at 3:17 am

Posted in occupy

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