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You Can't Do Gender in a Riot: Violence and Post-Representational Politics Author(s): A.K.

Thompson Reviewed work(s): Source: Berkeley Journal of Sociology, Vol. 52, violence (2008), pp. 24-49 Published by: Regents of the University of California Stable URL: . Accessed: 23/02/2012 14:20
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You Can't Do Genderin a Riot: Politics Violenceand Post-Representational

A.K. Thompson York University (Toronto)
Abstract an heldto be a siteofirredeemable it exclusion, gender Although is often examinationof Black Bloc activityduring the anti-globalization riot demonstrations the last decade suggeststhatthe contemporary of marks possibility a post-representational the politicspointing beyond of " BlackBloc activity "inclusion and toward By genderabolition. reading violence themiddle the18th intothehistory women's from of of political onward,it becomespossible to see how theanti-globalization Century riotsignaled a possible breakfromtheparadigmof representational the Thesedevelopments dominated 20th enjoinus to Century. politicsthat a politics foundedon thecapacityto contemplate post-representational violence. wield "law making'9 of Fanon arguedthat the Refuting orthodoxies his time,Frantz For politicalviolencecould changethosewho wieldedit forthebetter. Fanon, violence was a cleansing force, a vector for ontological the researchers transformations. From this perspective, contemplating of riots that tookplace at thebeginning the21st century anti-globalization theseevents shouldbe alerted thepoliticalopportunities to yieldedwith I contend and of to inclusion, representation. respect questions identity, thatholds the riotto be an that- despitethe activistcommonsense site of gender exclusion - the violence of the antiirredeemable of riots revealed the possibility a post-representational globalization of abolition. vector theproject gender for and politics a coherent arose from of I will showhow thesenew conditions possibility for of politicalviolenceitself. thechanging Whereas, mostof dynamics issues womenriotedaround"consumption" and 19th the 18th centuries, their role in the family, the end of the 19th thattendedto preserve by within to intelligibility century, wererioting gain access to political they stoodinturn Thisrepresentational thebourgeois inscription publicsphere. for as the precondition social movement for activity nearly100 years. in the waningmoments the 20th of activists the However,by Century, withforms post-representational Global Northbegan to experiment of without the mediationof politicsthat enjoinedthemto act directly constituted power.



These experiments have often been considered from the of thefreedom entailforpolitical actors. there However, they standpoint have been few attemptsto consider their consequences for the of themselves. will become As intelligibility politicalidentity categories to of thatthe clear,it is withrespect thedeconstitution thesecategories the of greatest possiblegains can be made. Specifically, deconstitution of the from intelligible categories political beingallowsfor transposition a in moment whichpoliticsis a modeof representation (whereconstituted poweralwayshas the finalsay) to one in whichpoliticsis a mode of production. Since it is now commonplace talkabouttheanti-globalization to in movement thepast tense,such a thesismight dismissed be from the outsetas an esotericwork of speculation. However,since political in tendto be recursive character, since- as Marx notedin the struggles Brumaire radicalmovements to tend opening pages of TheEighteenth "criticize themselves in themselves constantly, interrupt continually their own course ... untila situation been createdwhichmakes all the has backimpossible" to that (1969: 401), itis important recognize the turning last word on anti-globalization has This is struggles yet to be written. true thesignificant mobilizations theG8 that took especially given against in Germany 2007 and theinevitable in confrontations will take that place to of place whentheG8 returns Italy- citeof themurder CarloGiuliani1 - in 2009. Poised between thesetwo moments, findourselvesin a we fortuitous to contentious debates. position revisit PetrolBombs and CalmingPonds of Earlyin Decemberof 2000, members theACME Collective issueda communiqu thenascentanti-globalization to movement. With theBattleof Seattle and theBlack Bloc actionsthat tookplace there stillfresh people'sminds, in ACME' s dispatch becamea lightning for rod discussions aboutstrategy tactics.2 and the on Marking first publiceffort
1CarloGiuliani was an Italian activist killedbytheCarabinieri July 2001 while on 20, in confrontations thepolicein Piazza Alimonda theheart Genoa with in of engaged violent demonstrations the After during against G8 ministerial meeting. beingshotat close range whileattacking Carabinieri a vehiclethat becometrapped, had Giuliani'swas runoveras thedriver madeefforts leavethescene.Although number deaths theglobal to the of in neoliberalism impossible know, is to Giuliani'sdeath marked first the time struggle against that protestor one oftheG8 member a from states was killedfor in to standing opposition thenewmodeofexploitation. " As Starr in recounts GlobalRevolt: Guideto theMovements A Amory Against Seattle was a significant in Globalization, development theriseofthemovements against the round of Trade because,bystopping millennial globalization meeting theWorld it the of in Organization,signaled beginning US activists' engagement thestruggle. maximum estimates 70,000protestors of with couldhardly "Although compare ordinary



to the part of a NorthAmericanBlack Bloc contingent addressthe to movement a whole,the communiqu as spoke primarily a seriesof and then about riotousactions.By compiling popularmisconceptions AbouttheBlack Bloc," ACME helpedto frame to "10 Myths responding in at of destruction demonstrations aboutthemerits property a discussion North America. thatthe Black their critics'concerns In addition addressing to actionsand that in the Bloc had notparticipated planning anti-WTO they had littlegrasp of the issues, ACME pointedout thatmanyof their been the had believedthat rioters simply within movement the detractors "a bunchof angryadolescentboys" - hence,thatthereactionswere of the within realmof seriouspolitics.In their inadmissible repudiation "Asidefrom to ACME pointed itsanalytic thisperspective, superficiality. said ACME of the it thefactthat beliesa disturbing ageismand sexism," "it adolescent boystheory, is false."
Propertydestructionis not merely or macho rabble-rousing testosteroneridden angstrelease.Nor is it displaced and reactionary anger.It is strategically directaction and specifically targeted interests. (2001: 117) corporate against

activists out Withthe tempest of the teapot,anti-globalization to make sense of the new politicalterrain. Duringthis began trying the Black Bloc (which in NorthAmericahad been virtually period, site unknown quicklybecame an important of gender priorto Seattle3) of contradictions to collectmanyof themostpressing Seeming struggle. the themin one explosivemoment, and experience expressing gendered of the to activists contemplate gender theriot. Black Bloc forced Initially, termsof feminist these discussionsdrew upon the well-established of debatesabouttheproblem representation Spivak 1988). Did the (cf. heldto be thecase,ordid it activists as Black Bloc excludewomen, many
of for was nevertheless Seattle in manifestationstheGlobalSouth, significant therest the blockades. action was world. Theprotest ... specialbecauseofthesuccessofthedirect and to lockedthemselves one another satinthe non-violent tactics, protestors Usingentirely the arm and all flow, stoodphotogenically inarmaround street, preventing traffic Starr's to convention center, (2005:30). As shallbecomeevident, entry delegates" denying in needsto be qualified several of nature themovement of account thenon-violent important respects. anarchists to in America the prior Seattle, Although BlackBloc was notwellknown North included sincetheearly'90s. Earlyactions on haveusedthetactic thiscontinent in DesertStorm 1991(cf.Ickibob, mobilizations 2003). The Black Bloc Operation against tradition thelate'70s and '80s. Thistradition, of in Autonomen its finds origins theGerman of mobilizations thelate'60s, of out which grew ofthefailures theradicalstudent a of and of and politics developed number cultural incorporated aspects Marxist anarchist radical innovations nowinform that andpolitical campaigns many contemporary political 2006). (cf.Katsifiacas,



had Shouldwomen include them someothers proposed?4 as join in Bloc of of actionsto makethemmorerepresentative thegender diversity the condemn them a persistent ofexclusion? as site or movement, should they these in For activists theNorthAmerican movement, anti-globalization in beenarticulated couldnotbe questions andtheterms whichthey'd resonated of maleness themovement of avoided.Criticisms theperceived with activists who had alreadyexpresseda strongdesire to strongly elements thesystem of from the their struggles replicating worst prevent aboutthe to theysought oppose. But despitealmostendlessdiscussions came to little aboutwhatthe of exclusion, activists agreement problem inclusion would actuallylook like. Could solution the ever-elusive be means thatinvolvedopeningup inclusion achievedby aggregative and practices did it requirechangesin the practices or existing spaces of be or themselves? Could women'sparticipation solicited were forms boundto be coercive tokenistic? and affirmative actionrecruiting Despite of for one theambiguity thisnew politicalterrain, manyactivists thing mixedabout Black Bloc rioting thepolitics inclusion and of was certain: as wellas petrol bombsandcalming ponds. BrianDominick wrotein a position to As activist paperresponding the the fact that ACME felt theiractions ACME communiqu, despite resonatedmore with oppressedpeople than did the symbolicand theatrical tacticsadoptedby otherdemonstrators, problem the "the is... in thiscountry vastmajority oppressed of didn't havetheprivilege people wanted and typically don't to be in Seattleforthisdemo,evenifthey to, have the privilege risking of arrest all."5 In orderto emphasizehis at if Dominick concludes remarking "one is pretty how by point, privileged
4 the that the Defending BlackBloc actions tookplace during April16,2000 mobilization the Bankin Washington one activist that DC, against IMF andWorld proposed the diverse than mobilization the "Proportionally speaking, blackbloc mayhavebeenmore 16 a as a whole"( kudos.html). It's hard dispute to Dominick's assessment therelative of that privilege was neededin order participate theanti-summit to in actions. to the of However, reduce question resonance o to that attendance underestimates pattern diffusion marks the of that radical grossly As out action. Walter of the Benjamin pointed inhis"Critique Violence," actsofcriminal outlaws resonate with commit similar (and might evenfind acts peoplewhowouldnever them becausethey stand testament thelimits a sovereign as to of repugnant) precisely power to which Frantz Fanon too, (1978:281). In The Wretched theEarth, they, aresubordinated of described howthecirculation imagesand stories struggle atrocity of of or diverse prompts mobilizations gainpolitical that from connection a common to regional significance their referent WardChurchill challenged notion has the that note, (1963:75-76).On a similar to in actions than effective peopleofcoloraremorelikely participate "inclusive" politically ones.Describing rituals thepredominantly pacifist the of white is scene,Churchill not to "that North America's and barrio, reservation surprised find ghetto, populations, along with bulkofthewhite the class . . . tend either stand to aside inbemused working of or with Theirapprehension of incomprehensionsuchpolitics to react outright hostility. and of theneedfor are revolutionary change their conception revolutionary dynamics at oddswith notion 'struggle'" this of (1998: 64). necessarily radical



did..." one chooses to risk arrestin the way black bloc participants (2000). the makesclearhow,at thelevel of commonsense, Dominick'sposition exclusion of marginalized people (includingwomen) frompolitical if of excludes seemswrong.6 Consequently, theparadigm struggle protest to to women(as Black Bloc actionswere thought do), it is necessary this is out. changetheterms uponwhichstruggle carried I takeissuewith because it is based on thebelief on commonsense threegrounds. First, does notbearthisout.Second, womendo notriot. that however, History, the call to inclusionhas tendedto reify"woman" as a conceptual a that abstraction reinforces representational at odds withgenuine logic This problem derives from mainstream transformation. political to "woman"stillcontinues enjoyrelative where category the conceptions, stability,but also from tendencies within feminismthat hold and fieldofpolitical to Finally, engagement. "representation"be a salient to the mostimportantly, ongoing (and allegiance "representation" perhaps for its operationalcorrelate, "inclusion") occludes the opportunities riot. abolition signaled theanti-globalization by gender The Riot: His-Story? of of Lookingforrepresentations womenin thehistory rioting With the exceptionof a few early 20th affair. can be a disorienting Kthe Kollwitzthatdepict sketches Germanexpressionist by Century to womenhavetended womenleadinglargecrowdsof starving peasants, and tradition its derivative in be represented the Europeanoil painting action. or as genres ifat all- either thevictims musesofpolitical

6 Thisstatement in America. few The and radicals North for stands generally liberals left like mobilizations theMillionMan March take of notable exceptions theform ambiguous exclusive eveninthesecases,thegender like andgroups thePromise However, Keepers. of is not character thephenomena justified on thebasisofthegeneral of inadmissibility to historic on women into but politics rather whatareperceived be thespecific of men. responsibilities themobilized



KtheKollwitz, "Outbreak" (1903) muses, perhaps the most famous is Eugne Among the tradition's in le the Delacroix'sheroine La libert guidant peuple.Depicting ousting of Bourbons from Parisin 1830,Delacroix'spainting places a womanat the center the conflict. of Libertdrawsthemob intobattleand, if we follow the narrative conventions the genre,seems to assure their of a dramatic victory her verypresence.The workestablishes strong by eros and thanatos a symbiotic fraught but interaction tension between between life-giving the of for spirit Womanandthecapacity mento bring death.The muse,as representational ambassador the transcendental of harsh realities. this Idea, has alwaysbeenon handto soften Nevertheless, (like everyother)was not achievedby the muse but by "the slaughter a allianceofmen. are, people" whointhisdepiction in fact, cross-class



le "Libert guidant peuple"(1846) EugneDelacroix, reason that these So while Libertmightbe the purported themselves werecompelled fight to Parisians (and menhavelongdeluded itself does nottaint thattheyfight Woman),thefight intobelieving for and darkcomposition, forno otherreasonbut to her. In an otherwise her highlight goodness,Delacroix's muse is envelopedin a lightthat Surrounded armedParisians, from verybeing.7 her seemsto emanate by the overthebodiesof fallen. Libert seemsto float flag, Carrying French
the out, that, Dyerhas pointed underscores strategy as Richard representational howtheillumination In contradictions white of constitutive Dyerdescribes ontology. White, but in and disclosestwointerrelated ofwhite photography, cinema subjects painting, is On the subject givena transcendental conflicting impulses. theone hand, illuminated the to thus facts embodiment, reiterating pretense of luster dematerial theeveryday that izes the white On omniscience hand, implied transparency underlying epistemology. theother white anxieties the achieved lighting thiskindhighlights spectral of ontology. underlying by leavesthewhite knower realm everyday of The escapefrom corporeal the experience this anxious aboutthestatus herpresence of (1997:208-212).At itslimits, anxiety expresses itself an association as between whiteness death. I've argued and As elsewhere (Thompson, of recounted Dyerwerehighly visibleamongst 2007:198),thepathologies whiteness by North American activists they as to with anti-globalization sought identify therealembodied of Others. experiences their 7 It is a



that evenas she concealstheforce made she is boundto thenewrepublic as it possible.Nowadays,Delacroix's imageis morelikelyencountered And to thanas a seriouspolitical statement. fewwill be surprised kitsch tradition find an image fromthe European oil painting drawingon and Nevertheless, placing by metaphors gender stereotypes. questionable Libert thefront theinsurrection at of "leadingthepeople,"Delacroix's And it is precisely debt reality. imagedisclosesan important to historical forthis reason that,even thoughshe refusesboth the muse and the transcendental feminine,Kollwitz has the woman in "Outbreak" a similar the of place within field action. occupying in no how transcendental Representations, matter distorting their It is therefore not conceits,mustnevertheless something. "represent" to discover whenone ventures theframe theart of that, beyond surprising recordadmitsan impressive number women of world,the historical - who in some well known, otherslurking the shadowsof the archive in have engaged in politicalviolence. For instance, Labour in Irish the shadows to History,James Connolly(1987) rummages through remind howriots us wereoften carried inthenameofwomenleaders. out of Describingthe activities Irish peasantsin the middle of the 18th theestablishment British of recounts enclosures, Century during Connolly how "there Irelandnumbers secretsocietiesin of sprang throughout up which dispossessed the methods by peoplestrove lawlessactsandviolent to restrain greedof their the and their own right to masters, to enforce life." at and Theymetin largebodies,generally midnight, proceededto tear down enclosures; houghcattle;to dig up and so render to useless the and to lands;to burnthehousesof shepherds; in short, terrorise pasture theirsocial rulersinto abandoning policy of grazingin favourof the and to give moreemployment thelabourers moresecurity to and tillage, to thecottier. (42) that mentions thesecret these Connolly organizations conducting acts of terror wereverydiffuse often and as as disappeared quickly they He drawspecial attention theWhiteboys, to a appeared. does, however, that and group sought vengeance justicein theSouthof Ireland. Wearing whiteshirts over theirclothesin orderto createan ominousuniform while causinghavoc at night, Whiteboys intriguing the are appearance from current our fortheir of thesartorial vantage anticipation strategies favored theBlack Bloc. Connolly'sinterest, was however, piquedfor by different reasons."Abouttheyear 1762,"he mentions, "[theWhiteboys] districts... posted theirnoticeson conspicuousplaces in the country threatening vengeance against such persons as had incurredtheir as etc. were landlords, Theseproclamations displeasure graziers, evicting



female, sometimescalled 'Sive Oultagh', signed by an imaginary sometimes 'Queen Sive andhersubjects'"(42). womenare representationally absentfrom Although Connolly's as leaders. history,8 are nevertheless they conceptually present imaginary The rioting weresubjectto Queen Sive, who might therefore Whiteboys be cast as an oldersister Libert. to But whatsortof concrete situation have allowedfigures suchas thisto emerge? can find in We hints might theriots themselves. Enclosure meant separation families the of from the land.Historically burdened withtheresponsibilities homeand family, of thewomen Ireland'spre-capitalist of can truly understood be as peasantry motive forces behind enclosure the It riots. is therefore surprising not that thetumult should havebeencarried intheir out name.Connolly presumed thatQueen Sive like heryounger brothers CaptainSwingand General Ludd was imaginary; the though riots mayhavebeenconducted^ and at thebehest Ireland'swomen,it did notfollowthatit was therefore of womenthemselves conducted that them. whether notthere But or was an actualQueen Sive, historians sinceConnolly Sheila Rowbotham being notableamongthem have affirmed therewere certainly that women whorioted. Fromthe 18th thereis an observable in trend onward, Century in women's participation riotsand otherformsof politicalviolence. absent in many historical accounts, Despite being representationally Rowbotham1974) has notedthat womenwerepresent largenumbers in ( celebrated moments thestorming theBastille.9 like of during historically in womenwerearrested largenumbers whenthebarricades of Similarly, the Paris Communefinallyfell. Many of them women like Louise

we to how- iftheseorganizations as were omission, areentitled wonder Despitethis diffuse he claims- Connolly as couldproclaim with certainty women notalso did that any In donwhite shirts. Transgender Leslie Feinberg writes "White the Warriors, Boys"intothe of in to of history cross-dressing an attempt showtheimplicit militancy gender In in s the interest transgression. Feinberg' account, "White Boys"drewuponthematrilineal in to with which fairies oppositional as order figures order opposetheChristian they associated landlords. white the The shirts described Connolly becomewomen'sdressing by is account compelling, focusing the on (1996:78-79).Although Feinberg's by gowns. of rather thoseofforging collective than a the "we,"ze misses dynamics cross-dressing that werea cross-gender allianceandnotsimply cross-dressing a possibility theWhiteboys one. whenitis viewedthrough lensofJeanthe becomes themoresignificant all insight event Critique DialecticalReason.In that in Paul Sartre's account ofthat Sartre text, of howtheactofstorming prison outlines the a in produced fused group whichsubjects began to realizethemselves the Sartre does (2004: 351-363).Although politically through Other notdrawouthisconclusions relation gender, is easyto imagine in to it how- whenmenand - they women their begintorealizethemselves through counterpart simultaneously beginto forfeit discrete the character their of ownidentification. gender 9 This



unknown ones as well weresubsequently Michelbutalso innumerable exiledorexecuted. women riotedto For most of the 18thand 19thCenturies, that felt remarkable by Although preserve to whichthey entitled custom. fromour presentvantage,these acts never directly challengedthe of toward end of the 19th the constraints femininity. However, Century, with theriot openedup newpolitical had possibilities commingling the by nascent feminism the emergingpublic sphere. Finding concrete of in women's politicalviolence expression the workof the suffragettes, this period became the basis for the production political of during thatthe moderndemocratic statecould findintelligible. subjectivities would The politicalcoordinates assembledin the struggle suffrage for formostofthe20th Andthough to are now difficult Century. they prevail in on these graspconcretely accountof theirimmersion commonsense, coordinates - at their were inception inno senseself-evident. Describingthe early 19th Century politicalscene in Women, Resistance Revolution, & SheilaRowbotham how (1974) recounts women in this that during periodoften participated riotsin a manner reaffirmed their status women.Since themajority riotsin Englandduring as of the were compelled by what Rowbothamcalls proto-capitalist period boundto thedailyconcerns issues,"theywere intimately "consumption ofpeasant women'slives.Tornbetween earlier an and peasant experience thedynamics thenewconditions, of rioters often basic necessities. sought wouldbe thrown actionby fluctuations theprice into in Veryoften, they of bread.Describing tumult one such eventin Nottingham the the of in recounts how "mobssetto workin every year1812,Rowbotham partof thetown." One groupcarried womanin a chairwho gave thewordof command a and was giventhenameof "Lady Ludd." Such actionswerehalfritual, halfpolitical. from roleof womenin thefamily. the Theycamenaturally Theirorganization based on theimmediate was community. Theydid not a commitment joininga unionor party, like require consciouslong-term norwerethey in feminist anyexplicit sense.(103) to even though womenof the 19th the According Rowbotham, who engagedin riotswere resisting tyranny their the of rulers, Century were notyetchallenging system their the or role within Often, it. they the Withthepriceof bread peace couldbe reestablished through market. set once again at the level determined custom, would often by things returnto normal. "However," Rowbothampoints out, "duringthe nineteenth the of century context the food riotchangedbecause of the of development other forms of political action." Eventually,"the traditional action of women in relation to consumptionbecame



the events ideasbutalso with and not intertwined onlywith revolutionary and feminism thestreets clubs" (103). In thisway, of emerging popular for new formsof politicalsubjectivity the riot helped to inaugurate over violencetranslated, immediate needs through women.Addressing a to time,intothecapacity be politicaland to beginenvisioning future horizon. the beyond family-consumption the of Century, violenceof theBritish By thebeginning the20th movement effectivelytranscendedthe logic of the suffragette drew issueriot. suffragettes uponthespontaneous Although consumption not saw thestruggle suffrage womenriot for feminism prior of moments, entitled felt orto which that to so much preserve which they they required themselves new beings.Through into to but by custom rather transform within for the womenproduced conditions fullcitizenship riotous action, Much broken liberalism. the representational paradigmof democratic Trevor theseyears.Historian behavior punctuated glass and unladylike "burnt how,in theyear1913,militant suffragettes Lloyd(1971) recounts ... a couple of ruralrailwaystations placed a bombin thehouse being CabinetMinister] builtfor [British Lloyd George at WaltonHeath in and...wrote'Votes forWomen' in acid on the greensof some Surrey, weremeant hurt." to "theseattacks What'smore, golfcourses." in the womenwho had beenbreaking law,whether a peaceful Previously or without in or bymarching procession policepermission, violently way had their to windows trying force or way intotheCommons, bybreaking in to intended be arrested orderto show thattheytook theirbeliefs of beliefs the and seriously, to makea speechfrom dock in defense their were at the trial.But by [1913] the suffragettes no longerlookingfor to for (89) society. against They opportunities martyrdom. wanted fight outlined the will recognize transition activists by Contemporary interval between to resemblance therecursive a as bearing striking Lloyd It in action.10 is and of themoment civildisobedience engagement direct whereprotestors instances not therefore surprising just as in other that, turn the to have movedfrom martyrdom confrontation, suffragettes' to annulled Violent criticism. led action, suggested, many militancy to harsh to status that that feminine of thebenefits mythic gift "enabled"women of thestatus transcend Refusing ontological purity. through dirty politics was both victimand muse, the suffragette a politicaland symbolic
10 advocates civildisobedience out this seemsto playitself whenever Indeed, transition of in of tactics light theintransigence their of the cometorecognize futility their opponents. between MarioSavio's 1964 the One needonlyto consider radicaldifference of the FreeSpeechMovement occupation SproulHall and during Berkeley pronouncements Dohrninthefirst Weatherman thosespelledoutbyBernadine (1970: 509) to communiqu in wereimportant bothfigures see howthisis thecase. Although participants theAmerican showinno the student movement orientations divergent political during 1960s,their uncertain terms differencefewyears make. the a can



anomaly.Her appearanceon the worldstage was a defiant emergence from beneath oppressive the rubble historic of contradictions. a Producing new and intelligible from the 19th between category Century antinomy "Woman"and "thepolitical"required decisiveaction.And so, even as they sought recognitionfrom constituted power, the suffragettes nevertheless understood "Woman"neededto be morethana cipher that for consumption. and this Through systematic uproarious interjection, newwoman entered not universal as a consciousactor- a but history as an abstract forceto be bothrecognized and reckoned with.According historian to MelaniePhilllips, like Teresa Billington to recognize suffragettes began the ontological scope of theirclaims whentheiractionsled theminto direct conflict withthestate.Sitting Hollowayprisonforassaulting in a at a demonstration, concludedthat,since womenwere cop Billington deniedthe rights citizenship, of "logicallytheyhad to be outlawsand rebels"(2003: 182). Billington refused testify hertrial, to at that arguing the courthad no jurisdiction over those it did not - and could not as recognize itscitizens. on of transformation a Reflecting a similar feeling ontological fewyearsprior Billington's to Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence could arrest, nothelp butto feelinspired. actionhad changedher:"Gone Suffragette was the age-old sense of inferiority, gone the intolerable weightof inthefaceofmaterial ... Andtaking place of the helplessness oppression. theold inhibitions thereleaseof powersthat had neverdreamed was we of (2003: 172). Despite the remarkable differences theirobjective in Pethick-Lawrence a that situation, expressed sentiment neatly anticipated the dynamite Fanon would commit paper 60 yearslater.11 is that to It therefore not surprising that,accordingto Phillips,by 1908 "civil disobediencegave way to threatsto public order." These included "destruction property of such as window-breaking and occasional violenceagainst members thegovernment" of (189). Duringthisperiod,manysuffragettes arguedthatviolencewas nottheantithesis rights manyliberals of had claimed)butrather their (as This resonated with precondition. perspective strongly leadingsuffragette Christabel Pankhurst witnessed who labor police breakup a Manchester assembled address to Pankhurst concluded it that meeting unemployment. was onlythrough violencethatpeople would be recognized people. as Fromtheperspective a rights-granting violenceseemedto be the of state,
11 for Fanon' account theontological s of transformation colonized ofthe Consider, instance, inthemoment political of violence recounted theopening as in section The Wretched of of theEarth:"thenative discovers his life, breath, beating that his his heart thesameas are thoseofthesettler... thenewrevolutionary All assurance thenative of stems from (1963: it" 45).



to at (2003: 174). Arriving similar precondition politicalintelligibility FrancesBerkeley notedin 1912 thattheactionsof conclusions, Young conformed everydetailto England'scherished in of suffragettes history and liberalfreedoms. "Need I recall to any for equal rights struggle "the and student history," of Young asked rhetorically, seriousrioting of whichhas preceded advancein theliberties destruction property every 2001: 111). ofwhich is England so proud"(CitedinNeumann of and forsuffrage The history the struggles againstenclosure that draws logical makes it possible to question the commonsense attention to between and rioting masculinity. paying By correspondences of in thegender rioters of thehistory capitalism theWest,it throughout has been a purely becomes possible to dispel the myththatrioting it might be masculine though empirically the pursuit. Correspondingly, thandid men at the anti-summit case thatwomendid far less rioting be that the this actions Century, cannot punctuated earlyyearsof the21st said to be the result of some natural or even some politically in Womenhavebeenrioters thepast.Theyhave expedient arrangement. in of and of the objectives recognized importance rioting pursuit political detractors the Black of even politicalbeing. And while contemporary theiractionsas macho rabble Bloc have done theirbest to discredit the historic of the riothas been both masculineand gender rousing, feminine. of At the same time,the history riotsfromthe 19th Century to the attributed thecategory onward revealstheextent which meaning to of transformation result theemergent as a "woman" underwent significant betweenviolentaction and the liberaldemocratic public relationship of explains,"the new conception commitment" sphere.As Rowbotham of thatarose in moments politicalviolence"could upsetwhathad been as the women's sphere" (1974: 104). As a phenomenon regarded content a thanto a prescribed to (as pertaining a way of beingrather of thatenabledpeopleto adoptthestandpoint theprojectrather concept "commitment" became the thanthatof a narrowly conceivedinterest), In committed and vehicleforself-realization becoming. thisformulation, act producesrather people act on the basis of whattheir demonstrably of a to thanon thebasis of whatit is thought meanwithin fixedframe of reference. Because the social organization genderrelied and relies the of on extensively the register signification, turntowardcommitted is demoted a place of secondary to action(where importance) recognition itself. moveinthewaron gender can be seenas theopening make clear,the history of As Rowbotham, Young, and others and has marked women's riotsagainst by property profit been indelibly It not to participation. is therefore surprising discoverthat(despiteall claims to the contrary) women were active participants antiin



riots.Writing abouther experiences the Black Bloc at in globalization demonstrations theG8 meetings held in Genoa during against Augustof addressthelimitations of 2001, "MaryBlack" goes so faras to directly the'riot= masculine' equation: I think stereotype true the is that are mostly we white, youngand mostly I men. When I'm dressed although wouldn'tagree thatwe are mostly from headto toe in baggyblackclothes, myfaceis covered most and up, I'm of is peoplethink a mantoo. The behavior Black Bloc protestors not associated with so often assumewe are all guys.(Black women, reporters 2001) In herinvestigation theambiguous of feminist character the of movement,Judy Rebick (2002) quotes activist anti-globalization Kraus expressing similarsentiment: a Krystalline "'Blocking up' to becometheBlack Bloc is a greatequalizer.Witheveryone lookingthe same - everyone's hairtuckedaway,our facesobscured masks,I'm by less morethanone entity nothing and nothing movingin thewhole..." of (Rebick 2002). However,as Kraus pointsout,thismoment release from constraints gender the of lastsonlyas longas theriotitself. Before and after action, publicmeetings at thebar,movement the at and debates continue be thepreserve men.But iftheriotis a "greatequalizer" to of becauseof theexigencies commitment,is worth of it how it considering of mightalso stand as the inauguralmoment a post-representational riot of politics.If the contemporary bringswith it a moment gender whereone becomesnothing morethan"one entity abolition, movingin thewhole,"howmight extend effects regions lifewhere we its into of the remains dominant? we enter space opened Can the logicofrepresentation and leave it? up bytheriot never Violence,Inclusionand Representation Althoughit has been the subject of much political debate, North American activists have often difficulty had whatthey clearly describing intend "inclusion." Because it is an ontological and not a political by because it tendsto valorizethefiliative bondsof present tense category; over the affiliative tense becoming', being because, impulsesof future it of from space of exteriority the finally, tracesthe movement entities intothat a predetermined normative of and "inclusion" posed has inside, real difficulties for radical politics.12 Whethercarried out in an fashionor (with more nuance) in an effort induce an to aggregative elected (and oftenpredetermined) "inclusion"has self-transformation,
12 The political distinction between filiative the the of (denoting politics being)andthe affiliative the of in outlined a recent work Timothy (denoting politics belief)is neatly by Brennan (2006).



oftenseemed to assume thatthe space of inclusionis itselfa nearly universal. perfect In opposition thisperspective, to feminist writers concerned with have shownhow inclusion worked has anti-imperialist struggles against of the political projects cognizant theneedto seize powerand transform world. ChandraMohanty(1995) is unequivocalon this point in her assessment RobinMorgan'smid-'90scall fora "planetary of feminism." For Mohanty, politicsof inclusioninevitably the leads to an abstract "universal thatreiterates sisterhood" condition (a manyof the features as to Libert).Although constructed an abstract container into granted whichall difference be subsumed, can recounts how "universal Mohanty sisterhood" has in practicedisclosed an uncannyallegianceto white women. middle-class of Universal defined thetranscendence the"male" world, as sisterhood, notion which thus endsup beinga middle class,psychologized effectively withinand among and ideologicalpower differences erases material First Third and Worldwomen(and, of between groups women, especially us from and removes all as actors (77) history politics). paradoxically, it that womenfrom political the sphere, is doubtful By removing could provide epistemic tactical the or bases forresistance. "sisterhood" relation of As an abstract prompted recognition an equallyabstract by that "inclusion woman"necessitates thecategory of "woman" category, At of Who will be included? thispoint,the moment be givencontent. And some becomesthemoment inscription. thismeansthat of recognition of whenactingin ways thatexceed thenormative women, grounds the Since Morgan's cease to be representationally intelligible. category, "sisterhood" presupposes ontological claims that are potentially antithetical Kraussand Black's actions;since Kraussand Black seem to the masculine to act like men and refuse transcend fieldof ruthless to from "sisterhood" maybe leftwithno optionbutto expel them politics, "sisterhood"might its bounds. Or, in a momentof compromise, that arise from its aggregative acknowledge the contradictions But whathappensto a normative and constitution make an exception. inclusionbringswith it a thatallows exceptions? Although category think thepossibility forging of of of herewe might number benefits (and within the of a collective"we" prior to the resolution contradictions of lacunaethat a it also highlights number ontological assembled body), cannot perpetually be deferred. Feminism's deferral theresolution its ontological of of lacunae has amounted an increasingly to return therepressed. of From frequent Truth AudreLorde,thehistory feminist to of actionhas been Sojourner with of "woman."These shapedbyconfrontations thelimits thecategory



confrontations forthe mostpart(and up untilrecently) have takenthe form attempts expandthecategory as to include experiences of to so the of those who had previously However,formany gone unrecognized. the activists, goal of inclusionnow seems too narrowto encapsulate like contemporary opportunities those signaledby the NorthAmerican movement. These eventshighlighted place where a anti-globalization stablegendercategories (and even genders themselves) might beginto fallapart. In moments like the riot(in moments whenpeople choose to reject or fail to approximateestablishednorms), representational certainties It not to beginto unravel. is therefore surprising findmedia stateofficials, activists and themselves utmost commentators, doingtheir to makethenewsceneintelligible inscribing riot male.The goal the as by of thisworkis not"truth" conceptual but As intelligibility. MaryBlack norms out,one ofthemostcherished points gender appliedto women a normappliedwithstunning in and regularity bothmainstream feminist are anti-violent. recognize To women thought is that they ontologically in the riotwould mean destabilizing intelligibility the category the of "woman"itself. In mainstream violenceis often seen to be thenatural accounts, of men.Womenarethuscastas victims of preserve incapable mobilizing violenceor as musesunwilling consider on accountof their to it moral Giventhisrestrictive it has often been difficult framework, superiority. for women imagine to to usingviolencein order accomplish goals - even whenit can be demonstrated be in their to own interest. whileit is And understandable thepatriarchal that mainstream sought, of sheer has out to for it self-interest,makeviolenceunthinkable women, is moredifficult to graspwhythistendency been sucha recurrent has feature feminist of thought. MelanieKaye/Kantrowitz out (1992) has pointed howdangerous thefeminist affair love withthevictim been whenconsidered the has in context theneedto resist of violenceagainst women. Whilemany women do notfeelcomfortable Kantrowitz notes,thisshouldnot beingviolent, be confused withthe idea thatwomenare naturally non-violent that or victimstatusis the only basis for politicalrecognition. Women,she havebeensystematically of argues, deprived access to violence first, by a masculine culture declaresviolenceto be itsuniqueand sovereign that and within feminism drawnatural to entitlement, secondby a tendency associations between violence and the oppressor. However, for Kantrowitz,"the idea that women are inherentlynon-violent is... dangerous becauseitis nottrue."



sex idealizes our that idealizes us as the non-violent Any doctrine who and victimization institutionalizes men say we are: intrinsically we emotional. They think; feel. nurturing, inherently gentle,intuitive, pole. Guns are for Theyhave power;we won't touchit witha ten-foot in let'ssuffer a specialkindofwomanly them; way.(24) to violenceas a for Whyhas it been difficult feminists imagine for viable strategy politicaltransformation? despitea documented Why, to havewomentended disavowtheir of struggle, history women'sviolent forviolence?Partof the answercan be foundin the habitof capacity In of as resistance thelogicalnegation thething beingresisted. positing thismeansthat sincemenwield violenceagainst thecase of violence, of relations domination the use of to women in an effort maintain the violence by women would only serve to strengthen logic of this tendency when she itself.Rachel Neumannconfirms domination activistshad with describesthe feelingsthat some anti-globalization violenceseemsto In to protestor respect theBlack Bloc riot. heraccount, she reiterate destruction," notes, "Property existing power imbalances. with uses ofviolence." "has often beenlinked larger and are to Because of theway thatmenin particular taught repress vent of theiranger,it oftencomes out as an exaggerated representation the instead of contradicting existing power masculinity, reproducing structure. mine) (Ill, italics end activists by system, By usingviolenceto smashtheviolent as In violenceis construed a itself. thisreasoning, the reinforcing system a logical quantity, sign thatcan only be negatedby sidingwith its But antithesis. Neumann'sformulation moreabout says representational is the stateof our current (whereeverything politicalimpoverishment thanitdoes withviolence within representational the subsumed sphere13) itself. And while it can be easily transposedinto the field of act. violence itselfis not merelya representational Its representation, political effectscan't be measured on a balance sheet of stable violence from its social context,by By significations. abstracting it the essenceand disconnecting from it distilling intoa representational the activistsrun the risk of foreclosing of lived experience, world use the ofevencontemplating political ofviolence. possibility

13 order North ofcontemporary In to geta senseoftherepresentational impoverishment of SarahKanhouse'sauto-critique "prankster to American it struggles, is useful consider of for and in Speaking thetendency of politics" TheJournal Aesthetics Protest. "in notes activists engageintherepresentational Kanhouse to that, field, contemporary activism runs the as of the of prankster privileging position consumer a location resistance, or choice"(2005:28). risk presenting of as lifestyle (anti)consumer opposition yetanother



activists In orderto justify violence'spoliticalinadmissibility, AudreLorde: made use of an idea first have sometimes popularized by the "The master'stools will never dismantle master'shouse" (1984: maxims liketheseare seductive. 110).14 Thereis no doubtthat However, withthe world.Whichtools, reckoning theyrarely provokea material how Furthermore, did thesetoolsend up belongto themaster? precisely, of in his hands and not ours? Drawingupon a documented history violencehas beenwomen'stooltoo. out Kantrowitz struggle, points that and exhausting deliberate to To make arguments the contrary requires theurgeto relinquish violenceso as to (1992: 23). Worse, self-deception of with socialrelations a constellation to reduces avoididentity themaster Such andresistance a processofconceptual to abstract negation. concepts a to makesit nearly an orientation impossible imagine fieldof struggle universe of that is not bound in advance by the claustrophobic of it the logic. representational Practically, meansthat consolidation male with the identification power leads women toward ever-greater realm. transcendental within purview a masculinist of violencewholly the By positing is the discourseof social domination, inverseset of propositions thus to secured:by virtueof being the antithetical term, be simultaneously dominant masculinist Put meansdefining oneself practice. female against and defining in thisway,victimization becomesa central aspect together "Woman"thusonlybecomesrepresentationally feature thefeminine. of with coherent a politicalfigure way of identification a socially as by in marginality needofrestitution. imposed Viewed as an inapproximable ideal (muse) or hyperbolic representational negation(victim),"Woman" as we know her today this claim. In indeed does not riot. History,however,contradicts to "Woman,"womenare demonstrably capable of enacting opposition victims.15 violent and powerful rather thansimply practices, beingtheir Davis: thehistory violent of Meinhoff, Hansen,Dohrn, political struggle the since the 1960s is impossible imaginewithout to recalling women to or to life who refused be victims muses,who refused live theproxy of abstraction. categorical
14 in One recent of is example thislogiccan be found Richard Day's Book Granisci Dead: Anarchist Currents theNewest in Social Movements, where describes he hownew movement tactics only"refuse deploy not to traditional that tactics seekto alter/replace modesofpower/signification"that but "their ownorganizational structures are existing so where individual group placed'above' others one or is in designed as to avoidsituations hierarchical relationship" (2006:45) 15 Thisobservation accords with basicpremise historical the of materialist As analysis. socialresearch must start people- with with suggested Marxin TheGerman by Ideology, whatthey andwhat do done- andworkitswayout.The premises materialist of they've "aremen, inanyfantastic not isolation fixity, intheir and but actual, analysis empirically conditions" of under definite (1998: 43). process development perceptible



Women's possibilities for assertingpolitical power have in efforts encapsulate to to diminished inverse proportion men'shistorical masculine within normative coherent a and politically powerful practices womenare leftwithfew Unless theyadopt"common" tactics, identity. in term but binary an act options to valorizetheantithetical of thegender Of of abstract onlythe conceptual negation.16 thesetwocoursesofaction, of tactics how appropriation theadversary's allowsus to consider former claim to thecapacityforviolenceis not mimetic. is not simply Laying It womenactivists' arsenalof availabletactics. is, onlyaboutexpanding in male/female aboutprovoking breakdown normative a morepressingly, and themselves. gender designations relations to from region social subordination boththestate a of Operating in nor womenin specific activists general and to individual men,neither or the that to can afford presume "violenceis violence," that "samething" in a different contextis really the same. Arguingagainstboth the of moralists the 1930s,Leon Trotsky it and Stalinists thebourgeois put and violenceshacklesa who through like this:"A slaveholder cunning the and and slave in chains, a slave whothrough cunning violencebreaks eunuchstell us thattheyare equals chains- let not the contemptible eunuchs" before a court of morality"(1973: 38). "Contemptible actionin us to contemplate political encourages notwithstanding, Trotsky of the that the a manner shifts focusfrom normative meaning thegesture outcome theact. of to thepractical intothe realmof our present Trotsky's argument, Transposed from coordinated to to would amount a commitment resistance position than fromwithinthe social practicerather of powerful the position female subjectivity. borders of a socially-constituted predetermined we one theargument stepfurther, mustconcludealong with Following established theenemy that by Trotsky thosewho fawn"overtheprecepts of the thatenemy" will nevervanquish (45). Again,from standpoint our taken is the concerns, "precept" notviolence(whichis normally present to be thepreserveand not thepreceptof the enemy)but the category "woman" itself.

16 a context of the for beenunthinkable women, content the violence often has where In of to is "common" tactic ofsecondary importance themobilization violenceitself. to willnotbe identical use that it Nevertheless,is evident women'spolitical ofviolence can The division be understood male conventional uses ofviolence. usingBenjamin's violence and between making law preserving law distinction (1978: 287). Sincewomen, of in a on create newdynamic theeveryday operations sexism historically thedefensive, violence. as their can bestbe understood a law making act whenthey means, adoptviolent abstraction violenceitself-rendered a categorical as in where However, a socialcontext the the and distinction between twomodeshas has beenunthinkable, ontological political sometimes to beendifficult perceive.



that Lorde's maximto recognize On thisbasis, we can re-read of normative themoralprecept the constellation established meanings of that reaffirm premises thestatus - will indeedneverdismantle the quo abstraction concealsthe themaster's house.The violenceof conceptual violenceof theeveryday world.The state'slaws cannot used be concrete of for can to abolishthestate.The production commodities profit never The violentexpulsionof subjectpopulations the emancipate producer. violence will neverend by expellingthe fromrecourseto legitimate expellers. The implication is not,as has sometimes here beenclaimed, that itis that women must "likemen"in order wieldviolence. act to Rather, means of powerfulpolitical assertionto which by appropriating historically they'vebeen denied recourse women tell the lie of the with normative masculine identification power.In GenderTrouble Butler of encodedas pointsout how a women'srepetition a practice currently both male can have theeffect transforming thepractice of and theactor intosomething new. "To operatewithin matrix poweris notthe the of same as to replicate relations domination," says. "It of she uncritically offersthe possibility a repetition the law which is not its of of but consolidation, itsdisplacement" (1990: 30). Politics Post-Representational The history Black Bloc participation theanti-globalization of in riotsuggests intriguing an vector displacement Butler'ssense.As a of in moment unmediated of withhistory, riotbreaksdown the engagement individual certainties and encourages the formationof postIn the a representational political subjectivities. thisrespect, riot provides concreteexpressionof the disruptions the surrealist anticipated by thatpunctuated early 20thCentury. the insurgency Searchingfor an avenuealongwhich launchan assaulton theconceptual to mystifications of bourgeoisepistemology, WalterBenjaminproposedin 1929 that - surrealism could reconnect despiteits lack of politicalclarity people witha zone of experience wherethings their and nameswouldbeginto moredirectly. correspond "In the world's structure," posits,"dream[the surrealist's he loosensindividuality a bad tooth. like Thisloosening theself of currency] is, by intoxication at the same time, preciselythe fruitful, living experiencethat allowed these people to step outsidethe domain of intoxication" (1978: 179). Like in Krauss's accountof her Black Bloc where tactical the of makea member the of experience, exigencies theriot Black Bloc "nothing and nothing less morethanone entity in moving the assault on the whole," Benjamin's analysis emphasizessurrealism's



of individuality. passing By representational subjectcertainties modern intoxicated thesefigures thedeconstitutive moment, initially by through The at dreamfind themselves clarity. violent standing a pointof ecstatic of for as of immediacy theactthusstands precondition theproduction the the Once unthinkable, riot critical distance analysis. by required mediated in in producescircumstances whichpeople beginto changethemselves the theprocessofchanging world. withFrantz Fanonwill undoubtedly Readersfamiliar recognize in In this dynamic. his accountof Algeriananti-colonial struggle The Wretched The Earth,Fanon (1963) describeshow the native,upon of intohis own personand, in the violence,takeshistory passingthrough rediscovers the capacityto be political.Liberationis made process, avenues thatcome into view only when the possible by considering unthinkable. And that colonizedelect thatwhichhad been previously is which is unthinkable the use of violence. "At the level of the force." "violenceis a cleansing Fanonclaims, individual," and his It frees nativefrom inferiority the his complexand from despair The his it makeshimfearless restores self-respect... action and inaction; confers themintoa hand-to-hand whichhas thrown upon the struggle the tastefor concrete. massesa voracious (94-95) This "taste for the concrete"moves the newly historicized Violence political subject beyond the realm of representation. the rematerializes world and its social relations.No longer do the Theirclaimsto freedom of seek therecognition thecolonizer. oppressed Jean-Paul to In do notneedhis approval. his introduction Fanon's work, had changedthe at Sartremarveled the way the anti-colonial struggle but Algerians'outlook:Europewas sinking theydidn'tcare. All of this historical. that werebecoming confirmed they like of and considerations histories struggle theones Theoretical of from experiences the seem remote above will undoubtedly recounted descended contenders liketheACME collective, that, privileged political of from standpoint the of on the streets Seattlein 1999. Nevertheless, to similar a,very by process theone described Fanonwas at epistemology, seemed to riot. Many participants work in the anti-globalization actions as a date with history,an mass anti-summit experience unmediatedmomentin which they become fully invested in the In of consequentially theiractions.17 additionto the groundclearing break riot the of exercise ecstatic action, anti-globalization madea further with demands, not by particular by representational politics notadvancing
17 is inthis "do how It context we can understand thesimple that phrase it"becamean in the Scotland the important sloganduring demonstrations against G8 meeting Gleneagles, the of during summer 2005. (



whetherpoliticiansor police, askingfor anything. State officials, that anti-globalizationactivists were a frequentlycomplained did bunch. Theydid notseekto meetwithleaders;they not cacophonous seek particularreforms.They did not even seek positive media the did coverage and notinfrequently theyattack vehiclesof corporate Like a tormented mediaoutlets. child, dealingwitha recalcitrant parent "WhatDo You Want?" wereleft cryoutin exasperation: to officials state riot The anti-globalization servedas a meansto breakwiththe task-oriented in way.Because oftheir paradigm one final representational activists and in Rowbotham's sensibilities "commitment," sense), (their thishas been mosttrueof thosewho use the Black Bloc tactic have difficult. tendedtowarda uniform appearancethatmakes recognition tools selectappropriate of from standpoint thetask,rioters the Starting the the and clothes. As with theirhistoriccounterparts Whiteboys, And is of uniformity. as in consequence commitment sartorial practical on meansbutrather what fallsnoton whattheuniform thepast,emphasis itdoes. Because it emphasized participation; engagedand unmediated in because it brokewiththe politicsof demandenshrined democratic on because it placed emphasis thepoliticsof the act, where liberalism; the truths aimedto producetheir directly, anti-globalization participants cause the kind of gender a riotuncovered space wherewomenmight to esteemed Butler. helping destabilize trouble categories, gender By by a womenprefigure worldin whichthepolitical-representational rioting for is matrixof gender (where identity the precondition political is such a proposition loses salience.Even as a hypothesis, subjectivity) a of considerationnotleastbecauseitprovides means worthy sustained focus on genderinclusion of movingradicalpoliticsfromits current ofgender abolition. radical toward more the perspective use Rather thanseekingto includewomen,activists might the In social category. theprocess, riotto abolish"woman"as a significant its "man" a category madeintelligible through binary thecategory only Feminists havecontemplated to opposition "woman" is also desecrated. of this possibility before.In "The Accentuation Female Appearance," Laura (Riding) Jackson(1993) Americanfeminist early 20thCentury womenof hertime out the pointed that even though NorthAmerican into been viewedas to extend their activities whathad previously began of aesthetically male domains theyengaged in a concurrent project between men and theirfemininity. the distinctions As emphasizing womenbegan to breakdown in the sphereof practicalactivity, they "The the became increasingly codifiedwithin sphereof representation. noted. female rolebecomesmoreandmoreextended," Jackson



As it does, the dramatic dualityof woman becomes more and more on Andthisduality notonlyinsisted bywomen;itis equally is emphatic. as from drama, the the on insisted byman.Forifwoman, such,disappears itself drama collapses."(114) a one's To disappear such"from drama "as meansto disentangle Alternative self from bindsof signification. the though representations, can theyare oftenimportant, only change what people perceive.In distinctions contrast, abolishing through productive by representational activists could foster a radical break with the liberal practices, how to and representation paradigm contribute changing peopleperceive. the of with challenges centrality identity representation Breaking contenttherehave been numerous to contemporary politics.Although it overthelasttwenty basedcritiques identity of years, was Butler politics itself since it providedthe basis for who demonstrated identity how - functioned a regulatory as social recognition practice. In Gender call into she Trouble, asked: "Whatkindof subversive repetition might of itself (1990: 32)? As I've the practice identity question regulatory in women's participation the Black Bloc is such a demonstrated, and the therepresentational sphere attacking repetition. circumventing By a Black Bloc women anticipate base of political identity, epistemic the radar. that under recognition-regulation politics operates Since they begin fromwithinit, Black Bloc rioterscannot the pretend that they possess a tidy means of transcending At of stipulations our politicalpresent. the same time, representational of theirpracticesseem to enable the destruction some of its most a unmediated cherished engagement, critical By principles. emphasizing of to the politicsof demand,and a celebration the act, the approach makes genderrepresentation of rioters'conception commitment (and riot And whiletheanti-globalization may untenable. hencegender itself) be this nothavealwaysbeentactically efficacious, cannot thesole manner Neitherthe phenomenological in which we measureits significance. nor caused foritsparticipants theepistemological challenges disruptions in can certainties be measured this to liberaldemocratic representational way. of it messaging Although does not accordwiththe disciplined we movements, must keep the possibilityof gender contemporary the And though the in abolition mindas we enter nextcycleof struggle. archiveof memories upon whichwe draw may now seem small; and have now retreated of the though experiences the last cycle of struggle and though finally the from the realm of daily consideration; describedin this articleremaingerminalin form,they possibilities



nevertheless standas meaningful of prfigurations a worldthatmanyof us arestruggling create. to In this future, can imaginesubjectswithout we identities and of These politics politicsunbound thestale conventions recognition. by are made possibleby a violentassaulton conceptual abstraction and - property their relations. This is especially case the capitalist outgrowth whenconducted a "woman"who is herself conceptual a of by outgrowth theseveryrelations. Most importantly, politicsanticipate people these a who will existwhether notwe are represented. or the Through activity, will worlditself confirm being. our

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