Anti-Oedipus and nowadays activism

 

The globalization of the world gave birth to globalized problems, and thus, to activist movements such as the Zapatista, which broke through Mexico’s borders and reached to the whole world through the mediation of Internet and stands as  one of the originators of the practices, forms and ideals of alter-globalization, and no account of digital activism should ignore the (Hands 2011). The alter-, a counterpoint for anti- is a movement of the new Internet era, using digital media and communication through the World Wide Web.

As Ian Buchaman stresses in his article Is Anti-Oedipus a May ’68 book? The protests in France are not to be seen as singular but in the frame of previous events around the world such as the Vietnam war, the Algerian war or the Italian protests, this interconnection of events, protests and revolts have now become more and more visible through media, and mostly the internet.

The Zapatistas and their transnational support network have come to be emblematic – and indeed foundational – of a whole approach to network activism that has spread more widely across a whole spectrum of movements, campaigns, advocacy groups and individuals with shared affinities. (Hands 2011)

The Other Campaign was launched in July 2005 with the ‘Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle’, with the call to ‘humble and simple people like ourselves’ to ‘walk with us in something very great which is called Mexico and something greater which is called the world’. (Hands 2011)

Campaigns and movements such as The Other Campain which use the Internet to spread their messages, gain a louder voice than just a simple speaking tube, hence calling not only to a certain group of people but to the whole world. And even though the Internet is a part of globalization, is also a method of uniting human beings all around the globe, pursuing common goals and demanding similar things no matter of sex, religion, race, of financial status, which is similar to the event of May ’68 when workers, students, and high-class intellectuals protested side by side. The interlink, the common medium made it possible to acknowledge a common enemy, this being the first step, and maybe the most important in building a powerful movement.

The only problem is that most activism today is made of words, hashtags and likes or hearts. Taking into account the last political events around the world, I will consider the latest Romanian protests against the law of amnesty and pardon as an example. The protests as the ones from last year were broadly organized on Facebook through events, invitations, joins, and interested. My Facebook timeline rumbles of pros and cons, mostly cons, because of my own view, and what I chose to follow, but I get the feeling that the protests take place more on the Internet that in the streets, and people cry for their rights on their walls, but forget to put a stamp on their voting paper. It’s not that  I see this kind of activism futile by any means, as it allows an incredibly spread of news, information and it constitutes the perfect ground for real-time debates. Though what I do find bothering is a sense of “enoughness” and mind comfort, as if a like or a share is enough, when truly the online “protests” should be followed by actions.

Moreover, as Ian Buchaman highlights that Deleuze and Guattari: were as troubled by the actualities of May ’68 as they were excited by its possibilities and this ambivalence clearly shapes their theory of desire which tries to account for the contradictory currents of political thought and action that events like May ’68 bring into stark relief. Deleuze and Guattari were stirred by the possibility for change May ’68 seemed to betoken, namely the liberation of desire itself, but they were also highly skeptical of the doctrinal turn that accompanied it, which seemed to them to promise the incarceration of desire all over again. (Buchaman 1994:10) Protests, revolutions, activisms usually demand change, but not inner change. Change of government, of laws, of presidents, of doctrines and political regimes, which is demanding change from someone else, from the “powerful” ones, when the notion of power as Deleuze and Guattari stress is not as simple as being divided into power leaders, and follower, into powerful and powerless, but is a more complex concept based on contribution of every little single element, as every molecule participates in a functional organism. Revolutions challenge the simplistic division of power, by simply counterbalancing the parts.

the challenge of Marxism in the aftermath of May ’68 was not to supply the strategy to go with the theory, as Anderson demands, but to use theory to cleanse strategy of its fatal taint of impracticality. This is the challenge Anti-Oedipus answers and it does so by providing a genealogy of desire, showing how and when it came to be enchained. It is true that in the closing pages of Anti-Oedipus Deleuze and Guattari quite explicitly state that their work does not offer a model to follow; but then again, their thesis in a nutshell is that if we understand desire properly and distinguish it effectively from interest then the revolution is already made.  (Buchaman 2008:2)

As Deleuze and Guattari provide no “model to follow”, no map, no strategy, as actually most of the activism neglects to do, identify the core of the revolution: desire.


References:

Buchanan, I. (2007). ‘Is Anti-Oedipus a May ’68 Book?’,  Arab Journal for the Humanities, vol. 99, no. 25, pp. 225-243.

Buchanan, I. (2008). Deleuze and Guattari’s ‘Anti-Oedipus’. Bloomsbury Publishing

Hands, J. (2011), @ is for Activism: Dissent, Resistance and Rebellion in a Digital Culture

 

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