radicality of love
(2016) by Srećko Horvat
the worst thing that can happen to love is habit..t
the moment when you get used to the thunder of the hundred cannon the truth of the event disappears.. this is the reason why all these superficial classifications (arab spring, occupy, new let, etc) which evolved form the eternal drive of people to alienate things by defns,..t.. are dangerously misleading and become untrue to the original event..
what connects them (movement), more than anything, is something that can’t be reduced to pure facts. what can’t be reduced is this feeling of presence beyond classification or defns;..t.. a presence of submergence; the feeling that you are completely alone but not abandoned, that you are more alone and unique than ever before, but more connected w a multitude than ever as well, in the very same moment. and this feeling can be described as love. revolution is love if it wants to be worthy of its name
(describing miracles ie: human shields..that happen during movements).. this is a sign of love.. but why a sign? because it is still not love.. it is solidarity. every act of solidarity contains love, it is a sort of love, but love can’t be reduced to solidarity.. t.. take charity as opposed to solidarity…. solidarity is something much more than mercy: usually when you appease your conscience (donate money to starving children in africa, to use the usual starbucks ie), you can go on w your daily life as if nothing really happened. however, once you are enacting solidarity you can even abstain from charity or mercy: even if you don’t give a dollar to every beggar, you can’t go on w your daily life as if nothing really happened
he (starving child) can never be fully integrated, injustice can’t be integrated in acts of love.. this is why solidarity already contains love. in this respect, forming protective human rights around muslims, jews or women is a beautiful instance of solidarity, but to arrive at love one must go a step further. to love would mean to do it even when there is no event, no special occasion, or level of consciousness.. that would be the true event: when love is not (only) provoked by extraordinary cracks in the world, but can be found in the seemingly boring daily activities, even repetitions, or reinventions
rev of everyday life ness
this is the true meaning of ‘falling in love’.. we take the risk, whatever the consequences might be..
but instead of this necessary risk of ‘falling in love’ what we have today is a worldwide movement directed against any sort of risk..
at the diachronical level we can say one happened before the other, but on the synchronic level we see they are in presentia: it is as if they exist at the same time. only, as it were by transferring their diachronical relation to the synchronic level can we arrive at their true universality.. in other words.. we could imagine something we might call ‘the structuralism of resistance’..
st paul’s epistles: ‘there is neither jew nor gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female’..
the only one to this day who came close to such an ‘almost structuralist – understanding of the revolutionary universality was peter weiss.. in his die asthetik des widerstands,.. what weiss did is not only a novelistic experiment that can’t be categorized (isn’t this the best defn of a true art work?).. but even more: he conducted a tour de force in showing how the synchrony and diachrony of resistance can function in reality..
only by posing seemingly naive questions (ie: haitian slaves asking french colonizers: ‘what does liberte, egalite, frtaternite really mean).. can we arrive at truly radical answers
it is as if, from the ‘arab spring’ to the ‘occupy movement’ form sao paulo to hong kong, from athens to sarajevo, there is no consciousness that we can never really imagine a diff and better world w/o the reinvention of love..t.. the reinvention of the world w/o the reinvention of love is not an reinvention at all..
what our short comizi d’amore will try to propose is that the answer to the question ‘love or revolution’ should be as simple and difficult (at the same time) as: love andrevolution.. only here are we able to find the true radicality of love..
when it comes to deeper intimate relationships is is not that the nymphomaniac doesn’t long for it, it is more that he or she is not capable of bonding, of going deeper than just pure sex
from richard sennett’s classic book the fall of public man, cafes usually have – or at least had or could have – a subversive role.. during the ancien regime, political groups often arose from the parisian cafes.. coffeehouses became not only social centers, but also the prime info centers in london and paris of the early 18th cent.. so when khomeini decided to close the cafes and cabarets, it was because he was fully aware that they might be sued as means for (counter) revolutionary activity
if you leave tehran, and come to shiraz or yazd in the south of the country, this trend of the disappearance of public space is even more noticeable..
architecture is always linked to desire..
ancient hadith: ‘listening to music leads to discord, just as water leads to the growth of vegetation’.. khomeini: ‘music is like a drug, whoever acquires the habit can no longer devote himself to important activities.. we must completely eliminate it’.. surprisingly or not, it is lenin.. – who had a very similar stance toward music. everything from music to love – has to be suppressed if we want the revolution to succeed
(on ongoing censorship ness) one thing is for sure: for a totalitarian system, desire reps a threat: esp the specter of sexual desire.. ‘the sexual act, successfully performed, was rebellion desire was thoughtcrime’.. why? because sexual passion, as shown not only in 1984 but also in huxley’s brave new world.. can awake revolutionary impulses..
in iran desire is noticeable on every corner; sex is everywhere, although it is explicitly seen nowhere. and it is, of course, the woman who is the biggest threat to the stability of the regime.. from orwell: ‘what was more important was that sexual privation included hysteria, which was desirable because it could be transformed into war fever and leader worship’
in other words, what the regime fears most is the intimate (sex, love..) world of its subjects..
julia (in 1984): ‘when you make love you’re using up energy; and afterwards you feel happy and don’t give a damn for anything. they can’t bear you to feel like that. they want you to be bursting w energy all the time.. all this marching up and down and cheering and waving flags is simply sex gone sour. if you’re happy inside yourself, why should you get excited about big brother and the 3 yr plans and the 2 minutes hates and all the rest of their bloody rot?’
roland barthes: ‘i don’t think a political militant could easily put up w someone madly in love’
for a revolution to succeed you must take so much care of the *most intimate details of the lives of those who are doing the revolution:; these two things just can’t be treated separately.. even at the very beginning of every **revolution, or upheaval, or protest, or occupation you must deal w the ‘human factor’ (to org things, channel energy, etc); you can’t ignore desires or libidinal investments..
the ultimate of *intimacy ie: cure ios city
**or day.. has to be a new every day thing..
and precisely these fields, which are the most human of all and thus most ideological of all, could reveal how a revolution can easily turn into a regression: when ti tends to prohibit, to prescribe, when it occupies the position of the ‘subject supposed to know.’
when the ‘non geometric lenin turns in tot he geometric lenin dangers appear. not when the libidinal energy invested into hiking or cycling threatens the revolution, so that it has – together w sexual energy or love – to be suppressed, but conversely: when the revolution threatens to swallow this very spontaneity
(che guevara to his parents): ‘i have loved you very much, only i have not known how to express my affection. i am extremely rigid in my actions, and i think that sometimes you did not understand me.. it was not easy to understand me. nevertheless, please believe me today..’
(che on whether one must/can not cry): ‘..there is no need to ask her (his mom) for forgiveness. she understands everything. this is evident in her words ‘my dear old fella”..
when you sacrifice something that is of the greatest importance to you and you sacrifice it fully aware of all the consequences w/o making the quietest sound, then this is real sacrifice. it is the same as a favor: when you give a favor to someone, the moment you start talking aobu ti – mentioning how much you had to sacrifice for it – it fades away, it’ snot a favor anymore. the same w charity: the only true charity is when you give something to someone in need and don’t even allow gratitude – the moment you begin to show off w your charity, it’s not charity anymore
(on che via his wife – aleida) .. it is marked by the same fort-da destiny of someone who, on the one hand, had deep feelings for his beloved ones, and on the other , suppressed them for the revolutionary cause
as aleida herself describes figuratively ‘we have became machines focused almost exclusively on combat’.. on the other hand.. aleida comes ot the same conclusion as her daughter and says che’s commitment ‘was based on love’
(letter from che to wife): ‘a good part of my life has been like that: having to hold back he love i feel for other considerations. that’s why i might be regarded as a mechanical monster.. help me now aleida, be strong.. there is still a long road ahead… love me passionately, but w understanding; my path is laid out and nothing but death will stop me.. don’t feel sad for me; grab hold of life and make the best of it. some journeys we will be able to take together.. what drives me has nothing to do w a casual thirst for adventures and what that entails. i know that, and so should you..’
this is not only to be understood as the advice of a radical revolutionary to his wife. it finally brings us closer to he possible defn of the radicality of love as such. the radicality of love does not consist, as it is routinely considered, in the exclusive orientation of one being toward the other: in the fatal erasing of the rest of the world. .t.. love for only one person is a piece of barbarism.. for it is practiced at the expense of all others (nietzsche)
like revolution, true love is the creation of a new world
love and revolution can invent moments of unbelievable acts that can be seen as pure madness. but here we should hear nietzsche again: ‘there is always some madness in love. but there is also always some reason in madness’
it would be mad not to be mad today
the solution is not love or revolution, but love and revolution
(uschi obermeier; ‘when i love someone, then i am happy because of everything that makes him happy. if he sleeps w someone else. i am not deprived of anything’.. in the end it was uschi who became the most emblematic face of the commune.. the kommune 1 .. was the victim of its own ideology.. ie: rainer langhans’ jealousy while preaching free love
if you live under the condition of biopolitics, if you are deprived of everything and your body is the object of discipline and punish, then the last resort is precisely the body.. ie: in prison.. taking writing utensils et al.. so bit fingers and wrote in blood
and it’s exactly here that we should return to the beginning (man as weapon).. the ‘radial’ ie’s used – raf hunger strikes, ira dirty protest, and not to mention suicide as the ultimate weapon – show that the body isn’t always a political object, but can also be a political subject..
the other ie (besides dance protest by members of turkey’s state opera and ballet).. is the so called, now famous, ‘standing man’.. erdem gunduz.. a dancer and choreographer. the first evening he was standing there for 5 hrs and staring at a portrait of mustafa kemal ataturk. soon, similar protests consisting of simply stopping and standing still spread everywhere in turkey..
it was a brilliant strategy, reminiscent of tiananmen square’s ‘tank man’ or the recent silent standing performance by jelen topic form bosnia… why is it a good strategy? because non violence is much harder to deal w than violent protest, the govt now was tempted to arrest people who were doing nothing more than standing still. of course, they arrested the standing people in the end as well..
what the turkey opera/dance and erdem repeated is the famous slogan of e new dance group.. formed in ny in 1932 by two jewish dance students, which states: ‘dance i s weapon in the class struggle’..
the main concept of the new dance group is what an ideal dance group should look like. besides dancers, it attracted ordinary workers as well.. and just of dime, the students would receive an hour long dance class, an our of improv based on a social them and an hour of discussion o social issues.. .. that’s exactly what we need today.. or at lead, dancers who are ware dancing is not always ‘pure art’ it is always a political act as well..
the point, among others, where kollontai was right (and we must say it was one of the most radical interpretation so of love up to today) was the sphere of property. all her theses on the new love morality were directed against the idea that a couple begins to treat one another in terms of property relations, which goes so far that the lovers sometimes even rush to privatized the heart of the other person’s being. this privatization of the most intimate sphere is still something that haunts sexual relationships.. kollontai’s concept of ‘free love’ by which she meant sexual relations liberated from bourgeois possessiveness, is of utmost importance for today’s understanding of love..
what kollontai couldn’t predict is that the most progressive measures she had conducted (her efforts to nationalize maternity and infant care), as the only woman in the soviet cabinet and first woman in history who had ever been recognized as a member of a govt, would soon turn into the pure opposite, into a dystopian future where love would be abolished..
each one opens up the space for the other and its freedom..t