adding page while re reading McKenzie Wark‘s a hacker’s manifesto – second to last section: representation..
44. All representation is false. A likeness differs of necessity from what it represents. If it did not, it would be what it represents, and thus not a representation. The only truly false representation is the belief in the possibility of true representation.
so why do we believe in a representative govt..? esp to the extent we do, ie: money/time/people.. et al
Critique is not a solution, but the problem itself. Critique is a police action in representation, of service only to the maintenance of the value of property through the establishment of its value.
again – so why do we spend all our time critiquing/debating/funding/fighting.. about who will represent..
the need to stop flapping and model a nother way.
45. The politics of representation is always the politics of the state.
The state is nothing but the policing of representation’s adequacy to the body of what it represents.
so repeating from 44 – state is not a solution..problem itself: Critique is not a solution, but the problem itself. Critique is a police action in representation, of service only to the maintenance of the value of property through the establishment of its value.
Even in its most radical form, the politics of representation always presupposes an abstract or ideal state that would act as guarantor of its chosen representations. It yearns for a state that would recognise this oppressed ethnicity, or sexuality, but which is nevertheless still a desire for a state, and a state that, in the process, is not challenged as an statement of class interest, but is accepted as the judge of representation.
46. And always, what is excluded even from this enlightened, imaginary state, would be those who refuse representation, namely, the hacker class as a class. To hack is to refuse representation, to make matters express themselves otherwise. To hack is always to produce a difference, if only a minute difference, in the production of information. To hack is to trouble the object or the subject, by transforming in some way the very process of production by which objects and subjects come into being and recognise each other by their representations.
47. The politics of information, of knowledge, advances not through a critical negation of false representations but a positive politics of the virtuality of statement. The inexhaustible surplus of statement is that aspect of information upon which the class interest of hackers depends. Hacking brings into existence the inexhaustible multiplicity of all codes, be they natural or social, programmed or poetic. But as it is the act of hacking that composes, at one and the same time, the hacker and the hack, ..
hacking recognises no artificial scarcity, no official licence, no credentialing police force other than that composed by the gift economy among hackers themselves.
let’s do this first:free art ists
48. A politics that embraces its existence as statement, as affirmative difference, not as negation can escape the politics of the state. To ignore or plagiarise representation, to refuse to give it what it claims as its due, is to begin a politics of statelessness..
A politics which refuses the state’s authority to authorise what is a valued statement and what isn’t. A politics which is always temporary, always becoming something other than itself. Even useless hacks may come, perversely enough, to be valued for the purity of their uselessness. There is nothing that can’t be valued as a representation. The hack always has to move on.
49. Everywhere dissatisfaction with representations is spreading. Sometimes its a matter of breaking a few shop windows, sometimes of breaking a few heads. So-called ‘violence’ against the state, which rarely amounts to more than throwing rocks at its police, is merely the desire for the state expressed in its masochistic form. Where some call for a state that recognises their representation, others call for a state that beats them to a pulp. Neither is..
..a politics that escapes the desire cultivated within the subject by the educational apparatus.
50. Sometimes direct democracy is posited as the alternative. But this merely changes the moment of representation – it puts politics in the hands of claimants to an activist representation, in place of an electoral one.. Sometimes what is demanded of the politics of representation is that it recognise a new subject. Minorities of race, gender, preference demand the right to representation. But ..
..soon enough they discover the cost. They must now police the meaning of this representation, and police the adherence of its members to it.Even at its best, in its most abstract form, on its best behaviour, the colour blind, gender neutral, multicultural state just hands the value of representation over to the commodity form. While this is progress, particularly
for those formerly oppressed by the state’s failure to recognise their identity as legitimate, it stops short at the recognition of expressions of subjectivity that seeks to become something other than a representation that the state can recognise and the market can value.
51. But there is something else hovering on the horizon of the representable. There is a politics of the unrepresentable, a politics of the presentation of the non-negotiable demand. This is..
politics as the refusal of representation itself, not the politics of refusing this or that representation.A politics which, while abstract, is not utopian. In its infinite and limitless demand, it may even be the best way of extracting concessions precisely..
through its refusal to put a name – or a price – on what revolt desires.
57. There is a third politics, which stands outside the alliances and compromises of the post-89 world. Where both progressive and regressive politics are representative politics, which deal with aggregate party alliances and interests, this third politics is a stateless politics, which seeks escape from politics as such. A politics of the hack, inventing relations outside of representation.
the direction in which i believe the solution to lie.. we cannot afford to lose any of the fundamental achievement of modern democracy – either the fundamental one of the *rep govt.. govt elected by people.. or any of the rights which bill of rights guarantees every citizens
critique of representation
to rep oneself is an intriguing limit concept.. but really it is an oxymoron.. representation, like sovereignty is necessarily founded on a relationship fo unequal power of political decision making. people claiming their own decision making powers undermines both sovereignty and representation..
rousseau is well known for pronouncing the impossibility of political representation. the will, he explains, cannot be represented: either it is yours or it isn’t; there is no middle ground..
when he celebrates the ‘general will’ in contrast to the ‘will of al’ rousseau theorizes a form of rep that underwrites sovereign power.. the general will constructs a rep public, not as a form of plural voices but unified, unanimous political subject that mystifies and stands in for all.. how could you differ w or oppose the general will? after all rousseau tells us, it’s your will and expresses our interest
whereas the will of all, because of its plurality, is inimical to sovereignty, the general will, unified and indivisible, is sovereign.. in fact, sovereignty is nothing but the exercise of the general will..
‘just as nature gives each man absolute power over his members’ rousseau argues, ‘ the social pact gives the body politic absolute power over all of its members, and it is this same power which, directed by the general will, bears, as i have said, the name of sovereignty’
the only plurality that rousseau can accept w/in the political body of this representative public is pushed to the extreme of individualism, since individual voices can be nullified in the general will
viewed in historical context, and in particular, the context of the social and econ conflicts of his times, rousseau’s conceptions of general will and public are complex, and even contradictory.. and correspond to the contradictory phase of class struggle in 18th cent europe.. gen will brings together and negotiates between two poles.. on one side.. a revolutionary direction… it seeks to liberate the common from the dominion of the ancient regime … give back to multitude..
on other side.. a bourgeois direction.. makes rep into a form of command, a new form of transcendence, and constructs the public as an authority charged w defending the private..
this latter position.. dominant stream of modern political thought must be demystified..
let us set aside the historical question regarding rousseau’s theory in the 18th cent context and focus instead on how today his concepts designate a regime of rep that supports and protects private property against democracy and the common..
yeah.. i wish we could have stayed here: rousseau is well known for pronouncing the impossibility of political representation