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Otonom, "June 1st in Turkey, Multitude: The desiring-machine of expression against representation"

June 1st in Turkey, Multitude: The desiring-machine of expression against representation

June 1, 2013 is the rise of a new understanding of the political from the perspective of expression against that of representation. June 1 is not a “fact” which corresponds to measurement of time through its spatialization, but it is an “event” that is the flow and intersection of singular immeasurable durations. It does not refer to a practice of reason or subject that turns life into an object, but to an event as life, as the flows of bodies and affects. It is the expression of an affect which has its idea, it is a becoming. Hence June 1 cannot be considered in terms of a nation or a people who acts within the hierarchy of the universal, the representation and the subject. It presents us a multitude in act that is a desiring-machine functioning in unconscious virtuality of singularity, body, affect and life.

A new plane of the political is in becoming. It is obvious that the fault lines of modernism which is the plane of representation, subject, reason and hierarchy have been moving. In the immeasurable virtuality, this act is nothing less than an earthquake. The political from the perspective of representation is replaced with the plane of “expression” that signifies the political from the perspective of body. The discourse of the new plane of the political centers around “dignity”, which is the bodily expression of de-classification against classification by representation. June 1 is the scream of honor, conscious, and ethics against morality. In contrast to affects regulated in accordance with the movement of concepts and consciousness, we are standing on a plane of concepts shaped by the flows and intersections of affects, differences and differentiations. The political plane of sense and signification seems to undergo a radical change. The leftist language of representation seems to be paralyzed and we witness constitution of a new language of the left. That which is political moves from the language of representation to that of expression since the former proves to be impotent and insufficient to signify the plane of the political.

June 1 is the appearance of the political which is non-representative and extra-parliamentary. It is the expression of changing the world without taking power. The plane of morality which is political tells us: “These are what you must do”. The good and the bad are universal. According to the state, the representation and the prime minister Erdoğan, the good is the universality, the necessity and the arrogance that one must submit to. In contrast, ethics moves from singularity, body, humbleness and freedom, and it asks: “What is in my power? I am as perfect as my power, so what can I do in terms of my power?” Therefore, from the ethical perspective, there is no universal “goodness” or “badness” but there is the good and the bad of singularity. June 1 signifies the political from the perspective of ethics rather than that of morality. It is the scream of my “good” against the universal goodness. It screams “Do not interfere with my life, Respect my life!” It is the desire for freedom among the differences immanent to degrees of intensity in contrast to quantitative equalization that annihilates the qualities between singularities and differences. Occupy Gezi has allowed us to experiment with building a life without any dependence on a subject. June 1 is the counterpart of Paris Commune, 1848 Revolutions, Kronstadt and 1968 in the particular sense that it is not personified in any representation. June 1 is a movement that says “Hands off my dignity!” The political is no more about interests which are dialectical. It has already shifted to another ethico-political plane. It is life, the culture itself which is ethico-political. It is also creation, art and aesthetics as activity. The ethical consists in finding virtue in an honorable defeat rather than a dishonorable victory.

June 1 is comprehensible only from the perspective of Grundrisse

June 1 is closely associated with an understanding of capitalism not through Capital but Grundrisse. Through Capital we can only comprehend Fordism while post-Fordism is accessible only through Grundrisse. The notion of “time” has acquired a new dimension in production of labor-value. Capital measures time through its spatialization in factory just like in Fordism. It disregards any value production which is not spatialized in factory. In contrast, post-Fordism is characterized with transformation life as a whole into the space of value production. It refers to commodification of life itself within social factory. There is no place that you can have a rest without consuming. This is not possible even at home. The notion of time has moved from the measurable factory space to immeasurable space of social factory. It is necessary to distinguish the transformation in capitalism from formal and real subsumption into bio-political subsumption. Today surplus value is produced through bio-political subsumption under capital. Space is now a becoming in flow of time. “Event” is now time itself, it consists of flows and intersections. Capital configures commodification of life freed from space as rent by means of finance. Post-fordism attempts to measure value production freed from space by spatializing it through rent. In this context, Occupy Gezi has initiated a revolt against commodification and classification of life through rent. June 1 is anti-capitalist and certainly has a class dimension. The political from the perspective of anti-capitalism consists in a life against life, therefore it is directly ethico-political.

It seems that the notions of democracy and the political have been displaced. The political does not consist any more in democratization of the subject and representation. It is no more about appropriation of life through its objectivization by the personified subject. Now we can only regard it as becoming-revolutionary and democratization of life, event and virtuality. Multitude constitutes the common of singularities. In this sense, June 1 is a scream for reclaiming life, which is commodified by capital, as our common.

June 1 is manifestation of multitude which is ethico-political constitution of singularity. Multitude is the virtuality of flows and intersections of singularities and bodies. Hence we are faced with a new form of organization. We have left behind that sort of organization which rests on practices promoted for the stability of the hierarchy of the subject and the representation. If it is a matter of stability, it must be the stability of continuous production of singularities, modes and expressions. And multitude constitutes the virtual plane of this kind of stability. It is a virtuality that maintains continuous expression of singularities. It consists of acts immanent to tendencies, and of differences and differentiations. The plane of collective organizations which intersect the flows of singularities in the “event” and then disperse themselves to intersect later again is what lies ahead of us.