From: Tom Blancato <tblancato@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri Sep 16 18:32:11 1994
Re: your mention of the distance from those who partake primarily in oral
culture of writers like Derrida and Foucault: I think this is a very
important concern. I think it is important to try to cast the question, the
situation, as I think you are, in light, where possible, of, say, F or D.
In what is looking to be something of an at least temporary signature, I
invite you to take up the theme of this kind of influence within the context
of networking activism which would work seriously to get books to the places
you are talking about. You can bring it up here or e-mail me. I work with a
"Peace and Justice Resource Center" and am involved in projects which could
relate to the kind of thing your talking about. We are currently doing
reading groups on Freire's Pedagogy of the Oppressed, and I am a member of a
Haitian based popular organization, for example. There are real avenues for
the kind of influence you mention. At the same time, we readers, we
Foucauldians, etc., know (maybe) that such influence, the will to
influence, the institutions of influence all are very, very problematical.
But I am personally just as certain that a "thought", "discursive formation"
which operates too perfectly within the context of the basic power structures
of the university, and which can't work and *accomplish* work in the
direction you're talking about is probably operating with too much complicity,
too. At the time of this writing, Clinton gave his address concerning Haiti.
He said that there were no alternatives. The abyss, which is and is not an
abyss, between "theory" (even Foucauldian theory) and "action" should be
questioned in proximity of the possibility (and hence some minimal actuality)
of "action". What this action is is another question. Post-politically, it
doesn't mean strictly or predominantly what is called action in the prevailing
senses of the term. Nor is it action considered within a hyper-linguistic
framework, at the limits of, say, Habermassian programs. Nor is it not
these. But there is nothing to stand in the way, it seems to me, of
seriously considering setting up some kind of book exchanges, say. If you
(and others) would like to put something together, I would be interested in
touching bases and maybe setting something up with "action groups" which are
in contact on a regular basis with places meeting your description. Haiti is
a very good example, as it has a very low literacy rate. Yet there are many
possibilities. Tapes, for example. The questions this kind working would
open up, provided one stands up in them "properly", only help to vitalize
and authenticat thinking like Foucault's.