Monday, June 24, 2013

Narcopolitics and the suicidal drive of neo-liberalism

excised from a piece I'm writing for Millennium Film Journal's 35th anniversary issue

As Baudrillard wrote,
When the two towers collapsed, one could feel that they answered the suicide of the kamikazes by their own suicide. It has been said: "God cannot declare war on Itself". Well, It can. The West, in its God-like position (of divine power, and absolute moral legitimacy) becomes suicidal, and declares war on itself (Baudrillard 2001).
9/11 made visible the suicide enacted by neo-liberalism and its symbolic twin towers. The suicide of the bombers is no different from the trajectory of neo-liberal consumerism. The death of nature is not an act of murder: it is a symptom of another malaise, species suicide, conducted at the level of species by agents – corporations – that have already ex-corporated their humanity and uploaded their consciousness to corporate databases, no longer buffeted by wind and rain but only by the vagaries of chaotic markets they no longer wish to understand or control. The stupidity of fracking, of Arctic oil extraction, of nuclear facilities, of arming all sides in proxy wars, even the immense assault on the global poor is not in itself genocidal because it is integral to the suicide pact capital has signed with itself: to eradicate the world it is built on in order to ensure its own self-murder.

The silence of the silent majority is now punctuated by the murder-suicides of despairing cast-offs of the corporate system, banging away with Wallmart guns at whatever attracts their rage, in this emulating what destroys them, before making the futurological sacrifice, a signpost to the teleology of neo-liberalism , by turning the gun on themselves. America does not need imported terrorists: these lost souls perform the ritual of terror for them, protected and encouraged by the corporate lobby.

We speak of 'state terror' but even the worst states enact in haste what corporations enact at leaisure, and then only in cahoots with the corporations that pay for governments, often in the currency of the very arms they use to terrorise their populations. We should instead speak, like Rob Nixon, of the slow violence, the slow terrorism, of debt, despair and drugs (prescribed as well as illegal)

Narcopolitics is at the forefront of the suicidal economics of integral waste. Not content to treat bodies as externalities, dumping grounds for the over-production of toxic fats and sugars, narcopolitics pollutes the reservoirs of its last resource, the minds that manipulate its symbols, that provide the creative engines of innovation on which its cycles of built-in obsolescence depend.

This is the savage contradiction of capitalist growth; and it is this contradiction alone that allows creativity the space between waste and suicide, to clamber over the inert forms of parties and corporations, to produce the conditions for a politics worthy of the name.

No comments: