Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Necrosocial: Civic Life, Social Death, and the UC.

Occupied UC Berkeley, 18 November 2009.

Being president of the University of California is like being manager of a cemetery: there are many people under you, but no one is listening.
UC President Mark Yudof

Capital is dead labor which, vampire-like, lives only by sucking living labor.
Karl Marx

Politics is death that lives a human life.
Achille Mbembe

Yes, very much a cemetery. Only here there are no dirges, no prayers, only the repeated testing of our threshold for anxiety, humiliation, and debt. The classroom just like the workplace just like the university just like the state just like the economy manages our social death, translating what we once knew from high school, from work, from our family life into academic parlance, into acceptable forms of social conflict.

Who knew that behind so much civic life (electoral campaigns, student body representatives, bureaucratic administrators, public relations officials, Peace and Conflict Studies, ad nauseam) was so much social death? What postures we maintain to claim representation, what limits we assume, what desires we dismiss?

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