Source: Vault_Editions

“The Body as a Political Structure. The aristocracy in the body, the majority of the rulers (struggle between cells and tissues).” (Friedrich Nietzsche, The Will to Power, section 660)

The French philosopher Gilles Deleuze (1925–1995) is perhaps most famous for reviving interest in Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900). At the height of the structuralist movement in post-war France Deleuze’s book Nietzsche and Philosophy (1965) marshals Nietzsche’s thinking on the will to power to reinterpret the body as a political entity or intensive space.

Here, we will reflect on a racist, far-right conspiracy theory I encountered called the “Great Replacement,” and explore the psychoananalysis of ideology. What I find most fascinating about this right-wing conspiracy theory is the mileage it has achieved despite how easily it is debunked. So, how can this theory still be making the rounds on right-wing talk shows? Well, the answer reveals something about whiteness.

Right-wing pundits like Lauren Southern and Richard Spencer repeat Replacement theory so often it is almost a basic assumption for their foreign and domestic policy. Even among the more “centrist-liberal” describing opportunists like Steven Crowder…

Selected from: Deleuze and Parnet, Dialogues II. pp.141–147.

“War is certainly not a metaphor. Like Félix, we assume that the war-machine has a nature and origin quite different from that of the apparatus of the State. The war-machine would have its origin among the nomadic shepherds, against the imperial sedentary peoples; it implies an arithmetical organization in an open space in which men and animals are distributed, as opposed to the geometrical organization of the State which divides our a closed space (even when the war-machine is related to a geometry, it is a quite different geometry, a sort of…

Directly from Ronald Bogue, Deleuze and Guattari (1989). Pages 61–63:

“From the virtual to the actual:
Individuation and the intensity

That which effects the passage of the virtual into the actual is the intensity (or intensive quantity), whose essential activity is that of individuation. What Deleuze means by the intensity is best understood after a consideration of the concept of individuation, which Deleuze takes from Gilbert Simondon’s L’Individu et sa genése physico-biologique. …

What follows is a long extract from Dialogues by Deleuze and Claire Parnet.

“What must be compared in each case are the movements of deterritorialization and the processes of reterritorialization which appear in an assemblage. But what do they mean, these words which Félix invents to make them into variable coefficients? We could go back to the commonplaces of the evolution of humanity: man, deterritorialized animal. When they say o us that the hominoid removed its front paws from the earth and that the hand is at first locomotor, then prehensile, these are the thresholds or the quanta of deterritorialization…

Artwork by Jack Kirby

The name of the complex comes from the Greek drama of King Oedipus who, estranged from his family at a young age, unknowingly marries his own mother and murders his father. For Freud, the mythical figure of the mother and father carry psychological importance. The Oedipus complex describes a stage of development where a child desires copulation with the mother, and strives to overcome the father by killing him. For psychoanalysis parents are transformed into symbolic figures. In the same manner that myths structure ancient cultures, the symbolic mother and father structure family life for the child. …

Slavery and genocide underwrite American politics in the way that grammar is said to go unspoken in speech. Although unspoken, grammar has its effect on speech as a structure through which language is articulated and composed. The invisible agency of grammar is much like the agency that history exercises on the present. Agency is the capacity to affect or be affected. History effectuates itself in the present by its capacity to structure the social field like an invisible grammar.

The American writer Frank Wilderson III analyzes politics in terms of what he calls a “grammar of suffering.” To do this…

Très Riches Heures, 15th-century

What distinguishes Marxism from other theories of history is its emphasis on materialism. There are two distinct senses for the word materialism. Firstly, materialism is an ontological position on what exists. From the materialist perspective, only physical entities exist — there are no Gods, souls. Materialism as an ontological position is not new or unique to Marxism. Materialist traditions in metaphysics have survived since Ancient Greece. There is, however, according to the political philosopher Charles W. Mills, another meaning of materialism in what he calls “the socio-political sense” that is more important for questions of social ontology and justice (Mills…

[part two is available here on Marx & Historical Materialism]

The philosopher John Rawls is famous for his seminal work, A Theory of Justice (1971). The book constitutes a rigorously argued moral and ethical appeal for political liberalism. Rawls revitalized normative theory for decades, and is now considered one of the most important political philosophers.

In the 1980s, a tradition of Analytical Marxism emerged in the Anglo-American sphere of philosophy. One of its founders is G.A. Cohen, an analytic philosopher influenced by Rawls. Cohen was born to immigrant Jewish parents in Montreal, Canada. He had a working-class upbringing and was…

Artwork by Elevator Teeth

In Fall 2018 I saw Nick Estes speak at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in a lecture series on critical theory hosted by the Unit for Literary Criticism and Interpretive Theory. Estes’ lecture is titled “Indigenous Studies: As Radical as Reality Itself.”

Estes writes critically on his experience at the Standing Rock Reservation where large-scale demonstrations were launched in 2016 to 2017 in opposition to the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. As a citizen of the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe, Estes traces the #NoDAPL movement in line with a long tradition of Indigenous resistance against settler-colonialism.

Estes’ critical…


Post-Structuralist Social Theory // Interpellated as he/him

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store