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My notes from Butler's second talk....

Anne Dalke's picture

Bodies in Alliance and the Politics of the Street

* gender politics in alliance w/ that of other precarious peoples
* expand the "we"
* there is a contemporary war on the network of interdependency
* conditions of precarity are differentially distributed
* lives should be equally liveable
* "I am already a general assembly"
* need for a more general struggle against precarity
* the opposite of precarity is not security but the struggle for equality
* "If I seem to have wandered from gender; I assure you that gender is still here."
* the politics of alliance require an ethics of cohabitation
* I remind you that the term 'queer' evokes not identity but alliance
* taking (extended!) issue w/ Hannah Arendt re:
the mediated structure of public space (which she takes for granted)
* material environments becomes part of the action--"refunctioned" (per Brecht)
* Arendt's theory was confounded by gender politics
(masc. bodies in public sphere; fem. bodies prepolitical, creating domestically)
* bringing something into being"=political speech, as paradigmatic action
* but the body must appear for politics to take place
* to be in spaces to be displaced: to be perceived by others in ways I cannot control
* what of those outside action? are they outside the sphere of politics?
no, they are still saturated in political life
* Arendt on the stateless: the right to have rights pre-dates any institution that codifies them
* bodies speak in the street; this is performance and action, redeploying public spaces
* one part of Arendt's account of politics is insufficient: the allocation of who many appear
(consider performance in public, vs. foreclosure of the power to appear)
* there is no escape from the precarity of appearing in the world
* @ Tahrir Square: rotating who spoke, who cleaned: a horizontal  enactment of equality,
part  of resistance to entrenched hierarchies of the regime
* chanting "peaceful, peaceful"--a reminder of the greater goal
(its perfomrantive work: to restrain action, a counterperformative)
* rogue media, from the street, part of the movement: not just recording, but exercising freedom
private media become public, part of the protest
* the body has its perspective on the world,
but it also appears in the world in a way it cannot control
* the media does not cause disembodiment:
there is always media, a perception on the body that it cannot have, is always elsewhere

* speech acts are not the ultimate paradigms,
translating all that is said into a single claim, like a union's demands
* they overlap w/ embodied, collective acts
* maybe what we are seeing in the Occupy movement is
a massive shift in public discourse, different ways of making demands
* re: what's happening @ Berkeley--"I should do something other than weep in front of you"
* a colleague in English, hurt for carrying a sign, "I fear for Virginia Woolf"
* police power being enlisted to dominate public institutions
* plea by undocumented youth, working for the right to appear
* the undocumented must decide for themselves what risks they will take:
self-determination is essential
(every movement has lots of jobs w/out hypervisibility)
* could reading be read as political resistance?
* political activism has to be nourished by strong reading practices, political philosophy
* activists need theory: "give me a vague sense of a conceptually possible world"
* might the act of reading be an act of resistance to capitalism
* space is not limited on the internet:
* re-tweeting as political collateral? (a form of the people's mic?)
* are we supporting the disenfranchisement of those not re-tweeted
* a central question for participatory democracy today
* lines emerge and resolve: they are only temporary moments
of "hegemonic thrusting," quickly replaced
* what's the temporality of the signifying chain of the tweet?
* exclusions are not permanent, in terms of what is taken up, and what not....