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November 23, 2009


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Jodi -- thanks for this post. It definitely puts into perspective my ongoing projects with "democracy to come". I hadn't thought of the "censorship" element. I like what you said about opinion, but I'm not sure I'm completely on board with the "they can learn from experience" if they have "barriers to protest". Is this learning acquired through watching or participating? The Derrida in me would emphasize participation in something like collective inheritance. Thanks!


glad you said that about watching--my suggestion here is explicitly anti-watching, anti-appearance; the idea is to install a lack and incite action


This is a very interesting post. My first reaction is what do you mean by democracy? Certainly whatever we have in the US today is not democracy, under any definition. But it seems that you are assuming a certain participatory model?

The other question would be who is to take up the project of forming democratic subjects? This particularly struck me because I have just finished Zizek's latest book and I suspect he would phrase this differently. I am curious what you think?

As always, thanks for the provocation to think.


Hey Alain,

good to hear from you; I need to go back to the book--I got about 100 pages in and had to do other stuff. Anyway, the reference point here is Derrida so the ambiguity about the meaning of democracy is deliberate, part of the very problematic of democracy to come. I'm assuming that even with this ambiguity at least some version of participation is part of self-governance. Perhaps, though, I should think about it differently: demo + kratein; people and rule/govern. Over what do the people rule? I'm assuming themselves, but maybe it is different, maybe they rule over the economy or the land or the non-human; at the very least, I should challenge the Kantian supposition here.

And--who makes the democratic subjects? The Party. This part I'm sure of.


Thanks for the response. I would love to here more about the Party producing democratic subjects but I probably should pick up your latest book for that - which of course I will.:)

Keeping Derrida in mind, it seems for better or worse his notion of democracy is very abstract - I would even suggest it is more of a theory of political temporality, that the "promise of democracy" informs the current moment of decision, makes it contingent and open to revision, committed to preserving some sort of future. Democracy always suggests an ethical relation to those who are not yet here, etc...

What is desperately needed, which Derrida was sympathetic to but not explicit, is explicating the relationship between self rule and rule over the economy. I think Zizek's latest effort makes progress in this direction.

But I like what you are saying here - that we are not yet democrats and we really do not know how to yet get there.


i feel a song coming on...

reproduction of a new breed of leaders...stand up, organise



"censorship: the not-yet-democratic too easily mistake their opinions for opinions that matter"

'Our opinions,' you mean, though 'our scholarship' is more to the point. Easy mistake to make though, so no foul.

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