Re: anarchist?

His biographer Eribon quotes Foucault somewhere telling a friend, "you're a
right wing anarchist, and I'm a left wing one". Well, gossip.

In his 1978 lecture "What is critique?" (not included in Dits et Ecrits),
Foucault outlined his critical project along the notion of a "will not to be
governed this way". He characterizes this will as a resistance to a specific
government, as a "will not to be governed this way, under these
circumstances, by these means, by these guys" etc. Right at the end, perhaps
driven by pathos, he speaks of the "decisive will not to be governed" (_no
specification_) being the motive of critique (or enlightenment). Asked about
the difference, he responded that "the will not to be governed at all is no
original aspiration. Rather the will not to be governed is always the will
not to be governed in this way, by these people, at this cost, and speaking
of a "will not to be governed at all" seems to be a philosophical and
theoretical paroxysm of the will not to be governed in this or that way. If
I finished saying "decisive will not to be governed", it was a mistake. I
wanted to say, "not this way, not at this cost". I didn't refer to any kind
of fundamental anarchism, to any original freedom which positively and
fundamentally resists any exercise of government. I didn't refer to it - but
I don't want to preclude it either."
(transl. from German version)

Now if this is "denying you're an anarchist", then he denied it. This
charming sphinx, I'd say. Later on in the discussion quoted, Foucault shows
his hand when confronted with another metaphysical choice: "I'd try to cheat
my way out of it!"

I'd say Foucault redefined anarchism by emptying it of all that
Rousseau-style 'noble savage' romanticism, i. e. redefined it outside of
traditional subject philosophy. With regard to what Francois posted, I think
the difference between power and domination is at the core of this new kind
of anarchism. A world without power is impossible for Foucault, but a world
without domination is not, and domination is where all the evil that
anarchists want to abolish can be located.
(I suspect that Foucault's critique of Nietzsche might be crucial for this,
that is, a critique of that irritating contradiction in Nietzsches thought
between his ontology of eternal becoming / will to power on one hand, and
his political-aestheticist demands for rigid caste domination on the other.
Foucault never hesitated to acknowledge he was a Nietzschean, but a
left-wing Nietzschean must have swept out all the proto-Nazi, elitist and
racist stuff. And I think the difference between power and domination is
exactly the point where he must have started.)


----- Original Message -----
From: "Govind Shanadi" <gshanadi@xxxxxxxxxxx>
To: <foucault@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Friday, November 28, 2003 1:04 AM
Subject: anarchist?

> Is it true Foucault denied being an anarchist? Why?
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