Re: Foucault and 'the starving millions'

Tristan writes:

> It may be a particular form of "politics",
> necessarily restricted to the peculiar species of beast known as
> academics and writers (and I would guess most of us fall within this
> species), but it doesn't seem too far fetched for me to talk about a
> writer/intellectual/academic/whatever you prefer taking a public
> stance(s) re: some event, however "distant", and/or writing about it
> in such a way as to potentially create difficulties for simpler
> versions of "what's happening in Iran" as a "practical politics".
> I'm not sure what, if anything, you mean to suggest by putting the
> word "support" in "" marks, so perhaps you might say more there?

You are actually reassuring me in my use of quotes. Now that you
have elaborated on F's stance, I think it is misleading to call it
"support"; as you say, it was a _complicating_ strategy. This seems
to me a very proper role for an intellectual, and I _would_ regard it
as a form of practical politics.

> Regarding 'how F. would have reacted had he been Iranian'--this
> seems, as you indicate, a rather uninteresting question. What would
> you imagine such an exercise in hypothetical swapping of national/
> ethnic/religious identities might permit in the way of fruitful
> inquiry here?

No: as a swapping exercise this would be as unfruitful as can be.
But I have lately wondered what meaning one can possibly attach to
the word "support" when one is talking about supporting an event
which involves the spilling of other people's blood. I am not
talking here about a generalized horror of blood-spilling, about
whether blood-spilling should ever be supported. I have just found
myself at a loss, lately, about how one even goes about trying to answer
the question "do I support X?" when X involves the death of others and
never possibly one's own. So one very primitive proposal is that the
question "do I support X?" is equivalent to "would I kill and let
myself be killed for X?". I would love to move beyond this
primitivism, but am not sure how.

- malgosia
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