Tuesday, 30 August 2011

On the flaw in conviction politics

It is simple to convince people but difficult to hold them in that conviction 
Machiavelli
Thoughts, and the plans that proceed from thought, and the acts that proceed from plans, cannot attain a level of reality above that of assertion, argument, belief, partiality. The shortfall which argument must make up for in an assumed politics' lack of actuality is the measure to which that politics is objectively absent from the given activity of the world. The extent to which a politics must be argued for is the extent to which it is inaccessible to others. Where politics must be asserted is that place where it is least viable. Where political argument appears, its unreality is fixed.

Where agreement is found amongst individuals in collective disagreement with the world, the agreement thereby acts to fictionalise the relation between them.  The essence of collective political endeavour is found in its departure from actuality. The rate of fictionalisation therefore increases in line with assertions made in favour of the political viability of such assertions. Where the actions of those who are persuaded by a political ideal must make up for its actual absence in the world, the measure of its improbability may be estimated.

The return to politics from anti-politics, that is from the awareness of politics' actual non-relation to the forces of social production, must suppose an explicit recognition of the make believe character of conviction politics, and of the structural impossibility of the realisation of any of its proposals.

To continue on this path of conviction supposes an active conditioning factor of generally being unconvinced. That is, nobody may be convinced of anything without recognising the necessary fictionalisation of this specific conviction. Any specific conviction only becomes viable where the given and accepted ordering of social production is suspended and, in this case, conviction takes on an important function.

In practice, this further re-deployment of Daliesque props and crutches holding up the melting programmes and lapsing ideals of pro-revolutionaries appears in the form of a paradox: if political conviction is a necessary illusion, then it must also never take its object literally.

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