Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Vergera—see previously on the Chilean election— is one of the new breed of theorists of republicanism who still by their own definition have a hard time accepting that their interests are as much a document as "effective forces in history". That their interests are what they are now was itself predictable.

Vergara, "The Plebeian People of Populism" (uncorrected proofs)

Mainstream definitions of populism have detached populism from the historical  and material conditions in which it arises. Perhaps the most pernicious of these abstractions is the conception of the people. According to most definitions, any politics appealing  to “the people” against “the elites” is populist, regardless of their different conceptions of  the people, platforms, and relations to liberal democracy, which has led to the conflation of  populism with ethnonationalism. Through a radical republican approach, in this article I give theoretical ground to effectively separate the people of populism from conceptions of the  people based on ethnicity. Relying on Jacques Rancière’s theory of politics as disagreement, and Jeffrey Green’s theory of the plebeian subject as second-class citizen, I argue that, seen from a historical and material perspective, the people of populism is constructed from a  plebeian identity based on class that is egalitarian and inclusive, constructed from a position of no-rule, in resistance to oppression against the oligarchic order.

Jeffrey Green, The Eyes of the People: Democracy in an Age of Spectatorship

For centuries it has been assumed that democracy must refer to the empowerment of the People's voice. This pioneering book makes the case for considering the People as an ocular entity rather than a vocal one, arguing that it is both possible and desirable to understand democracy in terms of what the People gets to see, instead of the traditional focus on what it gets to say. 

The Shadow of Unfairness: A Plebeian Theory of Liberal Democracy

In this sequel to his prize-winning book, The Eyes of the People, Jeffrey Edward Green draws on philosophy, history, social science, and literature to ask what democracy can mean in a world where it is understood that socioeconomic status to some degree will always determine opportunities for civic engagement and career advancement.  


The political dispute challenges the foundations of the system of police through a radical egalitarian logic that does not speak to the system but disrupts it through the political performance of the people, of those who do not have a part in the system but nevertheless claim it. “Politics means the supplementation of all qualifications by the power of the unqualified,” the visible action of the people, of those who are not supposed to act because ignorant and unqualified (Rancière, 2010, p.53).

Given its egalitarian logic, Rancière is adamant that politics has a very specific subject that cannot be constructed along identitarian lines because it “exists only in the form of disjunction” (ibid.). The democratic subject is “not definable in terms of ethnic properties” or identified “with a sociologically determinable part of a population,” but a subject made up of “those who have no part,” who do not “coincide with the parties of the state or of society, floating subjects that deregulate all representation of places and portions” (Rancière, 1998, p.99). This construction of the democratic people based on an egalitarian logic of alterity and disagreement is not only different from identitarian constructions of the people but also stands opposed to them. 

Rancière, 2010 (p.53)

For that to happen the logic of the police has to be thwarted by the logic of politics. Politics means the supplementation of all qualifications by the power of the unqualified. The ultimate ground on which rulers govern is that there is no good reason as to why some men should rule others. Ultimately the practice of ruling rests on its own absence of reason. The 'power of the people' simultaneously legitimizes and de-legitimizes it.

This is what demos and democracy mean. The demos is not the population, the majority, the political body or the lower classes. It is the surplus community made up of those who have no qualification to rule, which means at once everybody and anyone at all.

Those who have no qualification to rule. 

Protestant authority and Catholic authority... and the demos, the plebeians and comedians.

However good some of these people are as critics, they're still critics, pretending they're not playing on the same stage as the rest of us. But the Catholics are better than the Protestants. The arrogance of the Protestants is beyond belief. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comment moderation is enabled.