Starving millions

The question comes up frequently enough. At a rather pomo affair a couple of
years ago, a scientist got up and said, "just to put things in perspective,
what's all this going to do to help the millions of people starving in X?" In
the face of discourses ala Foucault "et al", in a space of presentation in
which it is all too easy to lump together any number of people, from
different times, who've said, written, and done different things,
according to an organizing principle which needs to be thought through, I'm
sure, someone, or perhaps at times many of us ask: what about the "starving
millions"? etc. I think th is thread is very important.

Rob Leventhal's comments point to some very crucial moments:
institutionalized disciplines and their strikingly old and slow to develop
power regimes, for example. My gut impression is that Foucault's respons to
the question (research, analyze) is not adequate, and I get the feeling that
there is still something that is, in certain ways, "inactive" for Foucault.
But I should say, right away, that we are falling into a very typical game,
problem, and blind spot when we saddle "Foucault" with so much attention and
potential responsibility, and guilt, etc. Rob's comment is aware of this
problemn (identity, signatures). Foucault, we might say, did enough. He
wrote lots of books, he taught lots of people, he took stands on more than
"enough" issues. (Enough for what?) And if we want to play the name game,
the same goes for so many other names which might be listed in this arena.

What seems to be called for in the question in question is a kind of
innovation and response. In Nietzschean terms, a certain incorporation oif
knolwedge; in this case, not the ideal/scholastic/etc. knowledge Nietzsache
was counterposing to "life", but a deeply situated knowlege, not only of the
static and steady in the prevailing academic regimes of understanding, the
prevailing division between research and action (which is what so many
thinkers are so "white hot" about, it seems to me), but most importantly, to
the "movements", "revolutionary impulses, etc., which have taken place in,
say, the last thirgy years. I refer here to changes in education, apparent
changes, movements, the capitalization and commidification of "revolution",
awnd a certain failure of a level of initiating thought-action to take hold in
a way that radicalizes, takes root.

The space of the visionary Foucault is still a properly delineated/defined
space of analysis and thought, but it can and should, I think, also be seen
as anything from an outrage to a farce when thought in terms of the "starving
millions", about whom I'm not going to comment right now. I'm referring to
the space in which Foucault presents "itself", not Foucault himself. I'm
thinking of two things:

The starving millions (and we can add to this: the tortured, the caged, the
physically and chemically disappeared, the silenced, the suffering, the
incapable, the hidden, the victims of surgical bombings who are forgotten,
the isolated, the suffering elderly, the marginalized, the
terrorized)--these, and the possible.

I was going to write "and the impossible". This might indicate that to which
my back is turned for the moment.

Tom Blancato Not satisfied with the progress.

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