From: keskinf@xxxxxxxxxxx (Ferda Keskin)
Date: Mon, 11 Nov 1996 04:15:44 +0300
> But it must be agreed that it is odd for a troupe of supposedly
>oppressed peasants from a not-so-cosmopolitan region of Mexico to claim
>to be influenced by a philospher whose ideas are difficult to render
>accurately into slogans and hence are not easily communicable to people
>without much education.
> Original reports on the Zapatistas suggested that Marcos may not
>have been local to the region. Some thought that he was a foreigner.
>The last I heard he was believed to be a school teacher from Mexico
>City. The incongruity between the educational attainment of the
>peasants and their use of an often-technical philosopher makes sense if
>Marcos brought Foucault, so to speak, from Mexico City. Otherwise, the
>fact is difficult to explain.
I agree completely with what you say above. I guess I reacted to your previos
message because I saw some potential implications that you certainly did not
1. Categorically rejecting the possibility that peasants from a remote part of
Mexico could understand and use complex ideas of Western, civilized and
theortically cultivated origin. My worry here is that such a view may lead,
at the extreme case, even to a justification of colonialism. And such
justifications, we all know, have been extensively used in history. But of
I agree that these people would have major difficulty in following discusssions
on bio-power, struggles against forms of subjectivity, etc.
On the other hand my own personal experience teaches me that unexpected
people at unexpected times and places may display surprising perceptivity
especially when the question is concrete political action.
2. Confining the use of F.'s ideas to academic or urban intellectual
they would be the topic of endless debates in techniccal jargon and thus easily
contained by power. Thus their use, even at the level of propaganda or cliche,
by people in concrete political situations for concrete struggles would be
forever postponed. I think the use of F. in gay/lesbian or feminist movements
are much more easily tolerated by contemporary world system than their use
in situations which could damage entire political regimes and hence the system
itself. So I hope to se F. used in a much wider political context including
the struggles in modern Western societies but peasant movement as well (even if
that's just a hope).
Meanwhile I don't have anything against the theoretical discussions of F.
all, teaching at the university I practice such discussions every day. But if
F. meant his work to be a 'tool box' where one should pick what one needs
according to the exigencies of the situation, then the tools should be
Again, these are just worries concerning possibilities I've read in your
and not answers to what I assume to be your position.