AboutA blog for marxians and martians.
“It is also clear that neurobiology today offers a new perspective on subjectivity. Continental philosophers have always despised this field. They say: “No. It doesn’t concern us. It’s for analytical philosophers. It’s for Anglo-American philosophers.” Even Derrida has very harsh words against it. He says that the concept of “promise” is alien to neurobiology, which can only be concerned by the notion of “program.” This opposition between promise and program has to be deconstructed, because it marks the limits of deconstruction itself.”
Catherine Malabou, Interview, JCRT 9.1 Winter 2008 1
“This search for the ‘indirect’ is one of the great tasks of the review, given, of course, that an ‘indirect’ critique, that is, by detour, does not mean only an allusive or elliptical critique but the most radical critique, going to the hidden meaning of the ‘root’ (for example: the Spiegel affair [in October 1962, the German government accused the weekly of leaking state secrets, following an article on the state of the military] does not interest us for the governmental crisis that it provoked, nor even for the political authority’s interventions into the judiciary, but for its underlying implications: the myth of military secrets; the necessity and exigency of saying everything without taking any question of timeliness into account; the affirmation of the authority and responsibility of writers.”
Blanchot, “The gravity of the project,” unpublished working document for the Revue Internationale
“The last demonstration [during May ‘68], the one we organized—students, writers, workers— was forbidden. (I received an official notice from the police that very morning at home: how did these civil servants know us so well?) It left me with a memory of Michel Leiris: we were walking, arm in arm, with Marguerite [Duras] between us, to protect each other, and Claude Roy had the honor of being taken and thrown into the van, where the police needed victims so that order would not be so excessively scorned.”
Blanchot, “For Friendship,” 1996
“When I was first learning to teach, I asked Dominic, ‘What do you do when people treat you like a service person?’ It was Santa Monica, after all. At the time, he was in the process of systematically climbing down off the pedestal I’d carved for him. Funny how he keeps popping back up there now, but anyway, I was sure anyone treating him like the help must be delusional. He turned himself in to my idea of a service person and said plainly, ‘Maybe they need to treat you like a service person.’”
“We think that it is often when a writer is ‘mistaken,’ when he is wrong or seems to us to be wrong, that he happens to speak to us the most profoundly, if we listen well.”
Maurice Blanchot, letter to Uwe Johnson concerning the Revue internationale project (Feb 1 1963)
Questioned by the judge… concerning the new charge against us of provoking soldiers to disobedience, I told him, among other things, the following: the French courts, in particular the military court of Bordeaux in January 1953, in condemning German soldiers because they had not disobeyed the inhuman orders that were given to them by their superiors, morally and legally founded the right to military disobedience.
When we claim the right to insubordination, we claim the right of the French soldier not to behave culpably, in a way that would expose him in the future to the rigors of international law, and we ask French judges to remain consistent with the law they applied in the recent past: the law they applied in the recent past: the law that it is a duty for all, even against supposedly national demands, not to be inhuman and not to be oppressors.
A very important movement is developing in France, and it’s necessary that French and international opinion be better informed about it at a moment when a new phase in the War in Algeria must lead us to see, and not to forget, the depth of the crisis that began six years ago.
In ever greater numbers, French men and women are pursued, imprisoned, and sentenced for having refused to participate in this war, or for having come to the assistance of the Algerian fighters. Distorted by their adversaries, but also softened by those who have the obligation to defend them, their reasons, for the most part, are not understood. Nevertheless, it isn’t enough to say that this resistance to public authority is respectable. As a protest by men wounded in their very honor and in the idea they have of the truth, it has a meaning that goes far beyond the circumstances in which it is affirmed, and which it is important to grasp, however the events turn out.
For the Algerians the struggle, carried out either by military or diplomatic means, is not in the least ambiguous. It is a war of national independence. But what is its nature for the French? It’s not a foreign war. The territory of France has never been threatened. But there’s even more; it is carried out against men who do not consider themselves French, and who fight to cease being so. It isn’t enough to say that this is a war of conquest, an imperialist war, accompanied by an added amount of racism. There is something of this in every war, and the ambiguous nature of it remains.
In fact, in taking a decision that was in itself a fundamental abuse, the State in the first place mobilized entire classes of citizens with the sole goal of accomplishing what it called a police action against an oppressed population, one which had never revolted except due to a concern for its basic dignity, since it demands that it at last be recognized as an independent community.
Neither a war of conquest nor a war of “national defense,” nor a civil war, the war in Algeria has little by little become an autonomous action on the part of the army and a caste which refuse to submit in the face of an uprising which even the civil power, aware of the general collapse of colonial empires, seems ready to accept.
Today, it is principally through the will of the army that this criminal and absurd combat is maintained; and this army, by the important political role that many of its higher representatives have it play — at times acting openly and violently outside any form of legality, betraying the ends confided in it by the nation — compromises and risks perverting the nation itself by forcing the citizens under its orders to become the accomplices of a seditious and degrading action. Must we be reminded that fifteen years after the destruction of the Hitlerite order, French militarism has managed to bring back torture and restore it as an institution in Europe.
It is under these conditions that many French men and women have come to put in doubt the meaning of traditional values and obligations. What is civic responsibility if, in certain conditions, it becomes shameful submission? Are there not cases where refusal is a sacred obligation, where “treason” means the courageous respect for the truth? And when, by the will of those who use it as an instrument of racist or ideological domination, the army shows itself to be in open or latent revolt against democratic institutions, does not revolt against the army take on a new meaning?
This moral dilemma has been posed since the beginning of the war. With the war prolonging itself, it is only normal that with greater frequency these moral choices are concretely made in the form of increasingly numerous acts of insubordination and desertion, as well as those of protection and assistance to Algerian fighters. Free movements have developed on the margins of all the official parties, without their assistance and, finally, despite their disavowal. Outside of pre-established frameworks and orders, by a spontaneous act of conscience, once again a resistance is born; seeking and inventing forms of action and means of struggle in a new situation where, either by inertia or doctrinal timidity, either due to nationalist or moral prejudices, political groups and journals of opinion agree not to recognize the true sense and requirements.
The undersigned, considering that each of us must take a stand concerning acts which it is from here on in impossible to present as isolated news stories; considering that whatever their location and whatever their means, they have the obligation to intervene; not in order to give advice to men who have to make their own decision before such serious problems, but to ask of those who judge them to not let themselves be caught up in the ambiguity of words and values, declare:
Arthur Adamov, Robert Antelme, Georges Auclair, Jean Baby, Hélène Balfet, Marc Barbut, Robert Barrat, Simone de Beauvoir, Jean-Louis Bedouin, Marc Beigbeder, Robert Benayoun, Maurice Blanchot, Roger Blin, Arsène Bonnefous-Murat, Geneviève Bonnefoi, Raymond Borde, Jean-Louis Bory, Jacques-Laurent Bost, Pierre Boulez, Vincent Bounoure, André Breton, Guy Cabanel, Georges Condominas, Alain Cuny, Dr Jean Dalsace, Jean Czarnecki, Adrien Dax, Hubert Damisch, Bernard Dort, Jean Douassot, Simone Dreyfus, Marguerite Duras, Yves Ellouet, Dominique Eluard, Charles Estienne, Louis-René des Forêts, Dr Théodore Fraenkel, André Frénaud, Jacques Gernet, Louis Gernet, Edouard Glissant, Anne Guérin, Daniel Guérin, Jacques Howlett, Edouard Jaguer, Pierre Jaouen, Gérard Jarlot, Robert Jaulin, Alain Joubert, Henri Krea, Robert Lagarde, Monique Lange, Claude Lanzmann, Robert Lapoujade, Henri Lefebvre, Gérard Legrand, Michel Leiris, Paul Lévy, Jérôme Lindon, Eric Losfeld, Robert Louzon, Olivier de Magny, Florence Malraux, André Mandouze, Maud Mannoni, Jean Martin, Renée Marcel-Martinet, Jean-Daniel Martinet, Andrée Marty-Capgras, Dionys Mascolo, François Maspero, André Masson, Pierre de Massot, Jean-Jacques Mayoux, Jehan Mayoux, Théodore Monod, Marie Moscovici, Georges Mounin, Maurice Nadeau, Georges Navel, Claude Ollier, Hélène Parmelin, José Pierre, Marcel Péju, André Pieyre de Mandiargues, Edouard Pignon, Bernard Pingaud, Maurice Pons, J.-B. Pontalis, Jean Pouillon, Denise René, Alain Resnais, Jean-François Revel, Paul Revel, Alain Robbe-Grillet, Christiane Rochefort, Jacques-Francis Rolland, Alfred Rosner, Gilbert Rouget, Claude Roy, Marc Saint-Saëns, Nathalie Sarraute, Jean-Paul Sartre, Renée Saurel, Claude Sautet, Jean Schuster, Robert Scipion, Louis Seguin, Geneviève Serreau, Simone Signoret, Jean-Claude Silbermann, Claude Simon, René de Solier, D. de la Souchère, Jean Thiercelin, Dr René Tzanck, Vercors, Jean-Pierre Vernant, Pierre Vidal-Naquet, J.-P. Vielfaure, Claude Viseux, Ylipe, René Zazzo.