Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Back feeding

Historicist arguments for the conversion of past trauma into a pre-condition for progressive social transformation (the 'good' war, or the proletarianisation of newly colonised populations) always feels like betrayal.  History, under these terms, is then a matter of willing submission to, and identification with, the objective forces that have colonised the autonomy of past events. Retroactive omelette/eggs rationalisations may be presented as a 'project' only where commodity formations have already extended into, and thus polluted, everyday personal life events. Only those who have been personally damaged, may historicise. For these, 'progress' is demonstrated, in line with their metabolisation of domination's rationale, via a calculation of the historical usefulness of past sufferings. Traumas are fed back, like a regressing raw material, into the production of those 'rights' enjoyed in the present. Sequelae of the proposition, who controls the past, controls the present are realised in sentimentalist invocations of the agency of the heroic people; thus, 'people fought and died in the war for you,' is never anything but a mechanism of control operating within present relations in the place of 'useless' mourning for past losses. Where it is encountered, this manner of conflating different orders of agency (individual 'sacrifice' with state military strategy) is ordinarily merely enervating, but where it solidifies into a political position, 'The Long March', 'the Great Patriotic War,' it becomes dangerously transformed into a disciplinary attractor of otherwise unspeakable impulses. These inchoate, historically activated, tendencies, cathected towards some or other flag of convenience, are also then regimented, and set in motion - as correctives applied to unpatriotic inclinations.