On the notion of the political in postmarxist theory.


Aesthetic existence and the ontologisation of poverty
Whatever life

The practise of doing nothing 

Unemployed positivity

Miguel Abensour as reader of Spinoza
Spinoza, Marx, Moses Hess

Agamben and Nancy as readers of Spinoza
Leaving Immanence?

Feminist readings of Spinoza
Becoming woman?

Deleuze on Spinoza's theory of affects 

From the ontological to the affective

Spinoza with Deleuze
The underground current of the philosophy of immanence

Macherey's Spinoza
Ontology of multiplicity or materialist dialectic?

Althusser's concept of immanent causality 
- Seminar
Marx with Spinoza

Exhausting politics 

Being out of class (Deleuze)

What is an inoperativity that consists in contemplating one's own potentiality to act?
The messianic class

Sharing the inappropriable
The retreating class

The political capacity of the proletariat
The subtractive class II

The political capacity of the proletariat
The subtractive class

Disrupting the logic of division
The supplementary class

The antinomies of proletarian politics
The paradoxical class

Nancy and Lacoue-Labarthe on political difference
Retreating the political

Lars T. Lih as Reader of Lenin
What Is to be Done? and Bolshevism

The concept of capitalism in "Anti-Oedipus"
Capitalism deterritorialized

Deleuze, Guattari, Lacan
An impossible encounter I

An impossible encounter: Deleuze, Guattari and Lacan
Preparatory Meeting

Micropolitics in "A thousand plateaus"
Molecular Politics I

On affectivity and potentiality
Spinoza with Deleuze

Nietzsche with Deleuze
The negative in the positive

The notion of becoming in Deleuze and Guattari

On Esposito's concept of bio/politics

Reading Althusser

Rancière's farewell to Althusserian Marxism
La leçon d'Althusser

Debating Althusser's philosophy of the encounter
What is aleatory materialism?

Negri on materialism
Kairos, Alma Venus, Multitudo

Tronti and Cacciari's concept of the political
The autonomy of the political

"From Capital-Labor to Capital-Life" by M. Lazzarato

Reading Simondon

Nancy on the singularity of death

Agamben and Deleuze on pure immanence

Encountering Althusser
Preparatory meeting

Workshop: becoming-major, becoming-minor
Preparatory meeting

Foucault with Deleuze
The force of the outside II

Superimposing diagrams: discipline and governmentality
The force of the outside

Encountering Althusser
Preparatory Meeting

Reading Jacques Rancière's "Dis-agreement"
Marx's Metapolitics

Reading Balibar's "The Vacillation of Ideology in Marxism"
The non-totalizable complexity of the historical process

Reading Jacques Derrida's "Specters of Marx"
Deconstructing Value Theory

Reading Moishe Postone's "Time, Labor and Social Domination"
Value and Capitalist Capacities

Debating "The mirror of production" by Jean Baudrillard
Marx with Bataille

The coming communities of commons

Feminist comments on the relation between politics and labor
The arcane of reproduction

Rancière on the inactuality of communism and the intelligence of the unqualified

Virno on Marx's "Fragments on machines"
Notes on the general intellect

Virno on the concept of bio-politics in Postoperaism
What is living and what is dead in Marx's philosophy? II

Jason Read on abstract and living labor
What is living and what is dead in Marx's philosophy?

Reading Negri's "Twenty Theses on Marx"
The autonomy of living labor

Class composition in Italian autonomist Marxism
The emergence of the socialised worker II

Class composition in Italian autonomist Marxism
The emergence of the socialised worker

On Badiou's concept of truth procedure
Assigning a measure to the excessive power of the state

Reading Jacques Ranciere's "Ten theses on politics"
The supplementary part that disconnects the people from itself

Deleuze and Guattari on the concept of minoritarian struggle

On class composition and radical negativity
Domestic work and class struggle within the class II

On class composition and radical negativity
Domestic work and class struggle within the class

From class to minority
The relationship of Marxism and Post-Structuralism III

On the concept of the concrete universal
The relationship of Marxism and Post-Structuralism II

On Marx and Foucault
The relationship of Marxism and Post-Structuralism

Dictatorship of the proletariat and council movement
The Soviet experience II

Rosa Luxemburg on the Russian Revolution
The Soviet experience

Negri on Lenin
Democracy beyond law II

Lenin's concept of the dictatorship of protetariat
Democracy beyond law

Benjamin's concept of mysthic and divine violence
To bring about the real state of exception II

Agamben's reading of Benjamin
To bring about the real state of exception

Agamben's sovereign theoretical turn in thinking potentiality
Potentiality of impotentiality II

Agamben's theory of autonomous potentiality
Potentiality of impotentiality

Reading Jacques Rancière's "Dis-agreement"
Marx's Metapolitics

In 1995 "La Mesentente" has been published in which Rancière reformulates his critique of Marxism stating that Marx's idea of a pure proletarian act, of a declassifying class, that dissolutes the bourgeois society catalysed the most radical figure of the archi-police. However, then, he, too, will present a declassifying class, a class that is out of class, by drawing back to the positionality of the demos within the ancient city. He replaces the effectivity of unmediated dissolution of the false bourgeois society in the early Marx by the process of staging the gap between a place where equality in empty freedom is present and where it is absent. Rancièrian class struggle would be staging the gap between the place where the power of the people is inscribed and where it is erased, a sort of theatre of the universalising subject of wrong.

Rancière poses only one single question in "La Mesentente" – what is the relation of politics and philosophy? He argues that political philosophy testifies to an ongoing attempt of finishing with politics, of abolishing the scandal of thinking that is proper to politics, i.e., the activity of disagreement.

Rancière sets out from a twofold moment:

Firstly, he rejects the end of politics announced at the graves of the policing Marxisms. This announcement, Rancière argues, is accompanied by the emergence of a humanitarian regime that annihilates political subjectivity by reducing it to a monstrous alternative: either the absolute victim, the naked life of the starving human, or his horrifying double, the executioner, who denies humanity, the warlord, the terrorist, the genocidal perpetrator. For Rancière, humanitarianism emerged under the name of the new philosophers, former maoists and members of "gauche proletarienne" who started to promote human rights aid for Cambodian boat people at the end of the 70s.

Secondly, Rancière rejects the right Arendtian and Straussian idea of a return of political philosophy proper where the philosopher determines the good that the political community would then have the task of achieving, guided by an elightened government of elites.

Rancière analyses three major figures of political philosophy – archipolitics, parapolitics, metapolitics – presented under the names Plato, Aristotle, Marx. All three of them, Rancière argues, neutralise the political paradox of the part with no part and the theoretical scandal of politics that lie in the rationality of disagreement. Rancière's arguement could be concentrated in the following thesis: philosophy becomes political in order to both surpress and regulate this conflictual rationality.

Rancière analyes the different ways of achievement-elimination of politics through philosophy by turning back to the original stakes of political philosophy in the ancient Greek city. That is to say, his analysis operates by homecoming: The scandal of politics is backtracked to political philosophy's evidence première.

He starts with showing that in the ancient city two scandalous political elements had been introduced: In the first book of Politics, Aristotle defines the human as political entity, the human animal alone has "perception of good and evil, the just and unjust". Secondly, in Athens, after the abolishment of enslavement for debt, everyone who was born in the city is counted in the part of the demos and is supposed to take part in community affairs. Rancière does stress that for the Greeks politics is not a matter of sovereign power and not a matter of economic exchange, it is the non-economic question of the just distribution of shares of the common good. Political philosophy solves this question by instituting an ideal geometry according to which the parts are counted and the shares are distributed. Each part gets a share corrosponding to its qualities, entitlements and functions. This order of counting – that Rancière calls police logic – implies a constituent miscount that is surpressed and masked.

This miscounted part of the community is the demos. What has the people to give to the community? There is the wealth of the small number, the oligarchy, the virtue of the best, the aristocracy. However, the people has no positive property, no wealth, no virtue. The entitlement and the share of the demos is the freedom, Aristotle says. The people's freedom is not determined by any positive property. The scandal of the demos is that this mass without qualities enjoys the same freedom than the qualified parts of the community, that is to say, the demos attributes to itself as its proper lot the equality that belongs to all citizens.

Let's sum it up: The people are not a class subject but an anomalous subject of the poor who embody the effectivity of an initial disjunction that bears the empty name of freedom. They embody an improper property, an entitlement to dispute. They put the community at distance to itself. That is to say, the party of the poor embodies nothing other than politics itself. They are the constitutive wrong or torsion of politics as such.

Nevertheless, the class, the proletariat is one of the names for counting the uncounted. In this sense, class struggle, for Rancière, is declassification of the social parts. In Marxian metapolitics, for Rancière, the entire philosophical disagreement about political disagreement culminates. He argues that the notion of class infinitely oscillates between a thinking of form and content: on one hand, the class embodies the positive social content of living labor, and class struggle will, one day, make this content blast the false form of capitalist valorization. On the other hand, the class embodies the pure negativity of a non-class that dissolutes the old ties of the bourgeois society.

Rancière concentrates his anti-Marxian criticism in this diagnosis of an oscillation of Marx's conceptualisation of class struggle between two extremisms: "an infrapolitical extremism of class that is of the social embodyment of political classes, and an ultrapolitical extremism of nonclass – opposing extremisms whose homonyms, class and non-class, allow them to come together in the single figure of the terrorist."

For our discussion i will propose two questions:

(1) Which use could be made of Rancière's considerations for a critique of the postworkerist ontology of living labor? Or rather, can Rancière's idea of the poor as an anomalous group qualified by anything whose empty freedom disturbs the partition of the parts and lots be a productive tool to criticize the ontological and anthropological foundations of the postworkerist concept of the poor?

(2) What are the limits and problematics of Rancière's idea of politics as suspension of the logic of police by an anomalous subject? Rancière conceives politics as disruption of the policing order exercised by a paradoxical unclassifiable class that is implied in this order, counted and miscounted alike. How does he think the political dissidence of this part beyond its positionality of having no part, no voice, no property? How does this part dissociates from normal? That is to say, how does he think the process of becoming militant and of organising militancy? Or does he entirely skip this questions because he borrows from what he is criticizing in Marx – the ultrapolitical extremism of the non-class – the idea of an ontological privilege of interruption by the very class that is no class?

Jacques Rancière: Dis-agreement. Politics and Philosophy, London and Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Pr, 1999, pp. 82-93