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    On Police, "the 99%," and space

    Javier Arbona Oct 29 '11 1

    Highly recommend reading, in its entirety, "Not Your Friend: Dissensus and the Police," by Maryam Monalisa Gharavi aka @southsouth, a response to certain olive-branch pleas to the police. But most especially, on political space, she writes:

    One of the most useful and succinct definitions about a relationship or non-relationship with police regimes has been contributed by (but does not originate with) the contemporary French social theorist and labor historian Jacques Rancière, who I think will prove to be a crucial theorist for how we observe the rise of the current political mobilization that necessitates reclaiming space.

            "Politics stands in distinct opposition to the police. The police is a distribution of the sensible (partage du sensible) whose principle is the absence of void and of supplement."

    What does this mean? For one, politics does not have a commonsensical meaning of politicians, citizenry, etc. Instead, Rancière defines politics as the distribution of the sensible. On the surface this may not appear to stray so far from the tepid one offered in millions of high school Government classes in the U.S., namely who gets what, when, and where. But where it diverges strongly is the element of partitioning space and roles.

            "Political dispute is that which brings politics into being by separating it from the police, which causes it to disappear continually either by purely and simply denying it or by claiming political logic as its own. The essential work of politics is the configuration of its own space. It is to make the world of its subjects and its operations seen."

    Rancière’s contention is that what politics does is to claim and create a space. Crucially, that space is a reclaiming separate from the police.

    • Meanwhile, in that same website, a great article about #OccupyPhoenix and the failure to contend w/ problems of space. Or in other words: The tactics of protest that are applicable to a densely populated East Coast city simply do not translate to a city with the mass of Phoenix. If the Occupy movement wants to make a lasting impression in Phoenix it cannot use the model appropriate to Manhattan, San Francisco, or D.C. An army must adapt to the terrain, after all. An indelible impression would thus be better ensured by occupying freeways, or, even more appropriately, the many vacant REO exurban properties. -- The Geography of a Failed Revolt, By Alex Aums and James Broulard.

    Note: I'm saving clippings and some thoughts here and there in preparation for a discussion event on Nov. 19th at the VDL Neutra House (see this post; all tagged "glam").

     

     
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About this Blog

A bezoar is a mass of disparate pieces and materials. For this blog, you will find something somewhere between tweet-length posts and tumblelogging; inchoate thoughts; provocations and assorted scraps that don't fit anyplace else; criticisms of a political and geographic variety; ecoaffective ramblings; spatial imaginaries that don't conform. On Twitter: @AlJavieera; 1/3rd of @Demilit; bookmarked content: @AJFavorite.

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