You are on page 1of 4

Movement

http://multitudes.samizdat.net/Movement.html accessed 12 07 10 Mise en ligne le mardi 8 mars 2005 par Giorgio Agam en M! re"lections come "rom a malaise and "ollo# a series o" $uestions that % as&ed m!sel" #hilst at a meeting in 'enice some time ago #ith (oni) *asarini etc. A #ord &ept coming up in this meeting : movement. (his is a #ord #ith a long histor! in our tradition) and it seems the most recurrent one in (oni+s interventions. %n his oo& too this #ord strategicall! crops up ever!time the multitude needs a de"inition) "or instance #hen the concept o" multitude needs to e detached "rom the "alse alternative et#een sovereignt! and anarch!. M! malaise came "rom the "act that "or the "irst time % realised that this #ord #as never de"ined ! those #ho used it. % could have not de"ined it m!sel". %n the past % used as an implicit rule o" m! thin&ing practice : the "ormula +#hen the movement is there pretend it is not there and #hen it+s not there pretend it is+. ,ut % didn+t &no# #hat this #ord meant. %t is a #ord ever!one seems to understand ut no one de"ines. -or instance #here does this #ord come "rom . /h! #as a political decisive instance called movement . M! $uestions come "rom this realisation that it is not possi le to leave this concept unde"ined) #e must thin& a out the movement ecause this concept is our unthought) and so long as it remains such it ris&s compromising our choices and strategies. (his is not 0ust a philological scruple due to the "act that terminolog! is the poetic) hence productive moment o" thought) nor do % #ant to do this ecause it is m! 0o to de"ine concepts) as a ha it. % reall! do thin& that the a1critical use o" concepts can e responsi le "or man! de"eats. % propose to start a research that tries to de"ine this #ord) so % #ill tr! to 0ust egin this #ith some asic considerations) to orient "uture research. -irst some anal historical data : the concept o" movement) that in the sciences and philosoph! has a long histor!) in politics onl! ac$uires a technicall! relevant meaning in the 12th centur!. 3ne o" its "irst appearances dates ac& to the -rench 4ul! 5evolution o" 1860) #hen the agents o" change called themselves partie du mouvement and their adversaries partie du l+ordre. 3nl! #ith 7orenz von 8tein) an author #ho in"luenced oth Mar9 and 8chmitt) this concept ecomes more precise and egins to de"ine a strategic "ield o" application. %n his (he :istor! o" 8ocial Movement in -rance ;1850< he pla!s the notion o" movement in dialectical contrapposition to the notion o" 8tate. (he state is the static and legal element #hilst the movement is the e9pression o" the d!namic "orces o" societ!. 8o the movement is al#a!s social and in antagonism #ith the state) and it e9presses the d!namic primac! o" societ! over 0uridical and state institutions. :o#ever) 'on 8tein does not de"ine movement : he ascri es to it a d!namic and designates its "unction ut he neither provides a de"inition nor a topos "or it. 8ome interesting historical indication in the histor! o" movements can e "ound in Arendt+s oo& on totalitarianism. 8he does not de"ine movement) ut sho#s that around the "irst #orld #ar) immediatel! e"ore and immediatel! a"ter) movements in =urope undergo an e9ceptional development in a strategic contrapposition to

parties#hen the latter enter a period o" crisis. %n this period there is an e9plosion o" the concept and phenomenon o" movement) a terminolog! that is used oth ! the right and the le"t : -ascism and >azism al#a!s de"ine themselves as movements "irst and onl! secondl! as parties. :o#ever) this term e9ceeds the political realm : #hen -reud #ants to #rite a oo& in 121? in order to descri e #hat he is part o") he calls it a ps!choanal!tical movement. (here is still no de"inition here) ut evidentl! in certain historical moments) certain code#ords irresisti l! impose themselves and ecome adopted ! antagonistic positions) #ithout needing to e de"ined. (he em arassing point o" m! research) #here lindess to the concept ecomes visi le) is #hen % realised that the onl! person #ho tried to de"ine this term #as a >azi 0urist : *arl 8chmitt. %n 1266) an essa! entitled 8tate) Movement) @eople and su titled (he (ripartition o" @olitical Anit!) he tries to de"ine the political constitutional "unction o" the notion o" movement. (his is em arassing ecause in this essa! 8chmitt tries to de"ine the constitutional structure o" the >azist 5eich. % #ill summarise his thesis) given that this promiscuit! #ith a thin&er o" >azism demands clarit!. According to 8chmitt) the political unit! o" the >azi 5eich is "ounded on three elements or mem ers : state) movement and people. (he constitutional articulation o" the 5eich results "rom the articulation and distinction o" these three elements. (he "irts element is the state #hich is the static political side : the apparatus o" the o""ices. (he people is on the other hand) mind !ou) the unpolitical element that gro#s in the shado# and under the protection o" the movement. (he movement is the real political element) the d!namic political elelement that "inds its speci"ic "orm in the relation #ith the >ational 8ocialism @art! and its direction) ut "or 8chmitt the -uhrer is onl! a personi"ication o" the movement. 8chmitt suggests this tripartition is also present in the constitutional apparatus o" the 8oviet state. M! "irst consideration is that the primac! o" the notion o" movement lies in the "unction o" the ecoming unpolitical o" the people ;remem er that the people is the unpolitical element that gro#s in the shado# and under the protection o" the movement<. 8o the movement ecomes the decisive political concept #hen the democratic concept o" the people) as a political od!) is in demise. Bemocrac! ends #hen movements emerge. 8u stantiall! there are no democratic movements ;i" ! democrac! #e mean #hat traditionall! regards the people as the political od! constitutive o" democrac!<. 3n this premises) revolutionar! traditions on the 7e"t agree #ith >azism and -ascism. %t is not ! chance that contemporar! thin&ers #ho tr! to thin& o" ne# political odies) such as (oni) ta&e a distance "rom the people. -or me it is signi"icant that around 4esus there are never laos or demos ;technical terms "or people< ut onl! oclos ;a mass) a tur a) multitude<. (he concept o" movement presupposes the ecl!pse o" the notion o" people as constitutive political od!. (he second implicaiton o" this 8chmittian concept o" movement) is that the people is an unpolitical element #hose gro#th the movement must protect and sustain C8chmitt uses the term #achsen) iological gro#thD. (o this unpolitical people corresponds the unpolitical sphere o" the administration) and he also evo&es the corporatist state o" -ascism. 7oo&ing at it toda! #e can+t help seeing 1 in this determination o" the people as unpolitical 1 the implicit recognition) #hich 8chmitt never dares to articulate) o" its iopolitical character. (he people is no# turned "rom constitutive political od! into

population : a demographical iological entit!) and as such unpolitical. An entit! to protect) to nurture. /hen during the 12th centur! the people ceased to e a political entit! and turned into demographical and iological populations) the movement ecame a necessit!. (his is something #e must e a#are o" : #e live in an era #hen the trans"ormation o" people into population is an accomplished "act. (he people is a iopolitical entit! in -oucault+s sense and ma&es the concept o" movemnt necessar!. %" #e #ant to thin& the notion o" iopolitics di""erentl!) as (oni does) i" #e thin& a out the intrinsic politicisation o" the iopolitical) #hich is alread! thoroughl! political and needs not e politicised through the movement) then #e have to rethin& the notion o" the movement too. (his la our o" de"inition is necessar! ecause i" #e carr! on reading 8chmitt #e see threatening aporias : in so "ar as the determining political element) the autonomous element) is the movement) and the people is unpolitical) then the movement can onl! "ind its o#n eing political ! assigning to the unpolitical od! o" the people internal caesura that allo# "or its politicisation.(his caesura in 8chmitt is #hat he calls the identit! o" spieces) i.e. racism. :ere 8chmitt reaches the highest identi"ication #ith racism and the greatest corresponsi ilit! #ith >azism. (his is a "act ut #e must recognise that this choice) o" eing "orced to identi"! a caesura in the unpolitical od! o" the people) is an immediate conse$uence o" his notion o" the "unction o" the movement. %" the movement is the political element as the autonomous entit!) #here can it dra# its politics "rom . %ts politics can onl! e "ounded on its capacit! to identi"! an enem! #ithin the people) in 8chmitt+s case a raciall! e9traneous element. /here there is movement there is al#a!s a caesura that cuts through and divides the people) in this case) identi"!ing an enem!. (his is #h! % thin& #e must rethin& the notion o" movement) and its relation #ith the people and multitude. %n 8chmitt #e see that the e9cluded elements "rom the movement comes ac& as #hat must e decided upon) the political must decide upon the unpolitical. (he movement politicall! decides on the unpolitical. %t can e racial ut it can also e a management o" government o" populations) as in toda!. (hese are m! $uestions : Bo #e have to &eep using the concept o" movement . %" it signals a threshold o" politicisation o" the unpolitical) can there e a movement that is di""erent "rom civil #ar . or %n #hat direction can #e rethin& the concept o" movement and its relation to iopolitics . :ere % #on+t give !ou an! ans#ers) it is a long term research pro0ect) ut % have some indications : (he concept o" movement is central to Aristotle) as &inesis) in the relaiton et#een potenza and act. Aristotle de"ines movement as the act o" a potenza as potenza) rather than the passage to act. 8econdl! he sa!s that movement is ateles) imper"ect act) #ithout an end. :ere % #ould suggest a modi"ication to his vie#) and ma! e (oni might agree #ith me "or once on this : that movement is the constitution o" a potenza as potenza. ,ut i" this is true then #e cannot thin& o" movement as e9ternal or autonomous in relation to the multitude. %t can never e su 0ect o" a decision)

organisation) direction o" the poeple) or element o" politicisation o" the multitude or the people. Another interesting aspect in Aristotle is that movement is an un"inished act) #ithout telos) #hich means that movement &eeps an essential relation #ith a privation) an a sence o" telos. (he movemetn is al#a!s constitutivel! the relation #ith its lac&) its a sence o" end) or ergon) or telos and opera. /hat % al#a!s disagree #ith (oni a out is this emphasis placed on productivit!. :ere #e must reclaim the a sence o" opera as central. (his e9presses the impossi ilit! o" a telos and ergon "or politics. Movement is the inde"initeness and imper"ection o" ever! politics. %t al#a!s leaves a residue. %n this perspective the motto % cited as a rule "or m!sel" might e re"ormulated ontologicall! as this : the movement is that #hich i" it is) is as i" it #asn+t) it lac&s itsel" ;manca a se stesso<) and i" it isn+t) is as i" it #as) it e9ceeds itsel". %t is the threshold o" indeterminac! et#een an e9cess and a de"icienc! #hich mar&s the limit o" ever! politics in its constitutive imper"ection. (ranscri ed and translated ! Arianna ,ove "rom audio "iles availa le here : http://###.glo alpro0ect.in"o/%MG/m...