Deleuze & Guattari

"Even in the realm of theory, especially in the realm of theory, any precarious and pragmatic framework is better than tracing concepts, with their breaks and progress changing nothing. Imperceptible rupture, not signifying break. The nomads invented a war machine in opposition to the State apparatus. History has never comprehended nomadism, the book has never comprehended the outside. The State as the model for the book and for thought has a long history: logos, the philosopher-king, the transcendence of the Idea, the interiority of the concept, the republic of minds, the court of reason, the functionaries of thought, man as legislator and subject. The State's pretension to be a world order, and to root man. The war machine's relation to an outside is not another "model"; it is an assemblage that makes thought itself nomadic, and the book a working part in every mobile machine, a stem for a rhizome." (From Deleuze & Guattari's A Thousand Plateaus (pg 24)

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War Drums

I walk all night, I walk all day
Corporate Lies, lead astray
This blistering heat, has got me beat
Can you hear the war drums

They sit and wait
As we decide their fate
Edge of their seat, they watch TV
Can you hear the war drums

Across the sky
Low fly-by
Was that a shot, I hope not
Can you hear the war drums

Through sweat and fear
We draw quite near
Merely a whisper upon keen ears
Can you hear the war drums

The lights go out
There is no doubt
Time to fight on hallowed night
The war drums are here

 

Michael Shapiro

"Moreover, the technologies that permitted killing in the absence of seeing had removed specific, suffering bodies in a way similar to the way they are effaced in the theoretical language of war, as war discourse has increasingly moved from images of flesh to images of weapons and logistics. Indeed, the enactment of the war bore a closer resemblance to theories of war than to actual violent engagements. The view that the U.S. combatants had of their targets was so mediated that the attacks were aimed at abstract targets in highly schematic spaces. The "battles" were thus very Clausewitzian inasmuch as Clausewitz spoke always in very abstract terms about the "battlefield" and avoided speculation about particular historical battles, particular antagonisms, and the actual bodily registers of violence. His discourse, in short, was as bloodless as the fighting must have seemed to those who operated on the control side of the contemporary technologies of battle." (From Michael Shapiro's Violent Cartographies p. 75)

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The New Battlefield

 

Player One… GO!
Hit… Hit… Hit…
Weapon Upgrade
Massive Kill
Hit-Hit-Hit
COMBAT MULTIPLIER!!
Reload
Hit
Energy getting low
Hit… Hit… Hit, Hit
Watch your 6
Hit
Reload
Hit-Hit… Hit
COMBAT MULTIPLIER!!
Hit-Hit-Hit
Finish him!
You killed them all!

Level 4… Go…
Hit-Hit-Hit
Watch your 6
Oh No, you got WASTED…

Replay in 5… 4… 3… 2… 1… GO!

(Meanwhile in Pakistan)

"I no longer love blue skies. In fact, I now prefer grey skies. The drones do not fly when the skies are grey. When sky brightens, drones return and we live in fear" -13 Year old Pakistani boy named Zubair.

"I had seen my grandmother right before it had happened but I couldn't see her after. It was just really dark but I could hear scream when it had hit her," says his sister Nabeela.

(Quotes from https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2013/10/saddest-words-congresss-briefing-drone-strikes/354548/)

Kathy Ferguson

"In violent times, the juridical, medical, and journalistic apparatuses worked overtime to mark the murders that mattered--the victims of attentats, not of strikebreaking; the anarchists' bombs, not the Pinkertons' guns; the wealthy at their leisure but not the poor in their distress. The deployments of discourse-producing institutions precede and make possible the meanings discernable within them. Interconnecting discursive practices within law, medicine, and media made it possible to claim that Goldman was dangerous--while resisting alternative inscriptions of danger. The discourses of danger surrounding Goldman and anarchism enabled a strategic non-seeing, a diminishing of other possible ethical and political engagements with other calculations of threat." (Pg 44-45. Kathy Ferguson's Emma Goldman: Political Thinking in the Streets.")

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There's a violence in not being heard
There's a violence in not being seen
There's a violence in not being touched
There's a violence in not being loved

They say that I'm a liar
They say that I'm ugly
They say that I'm dirty
They say that I'm a savage

I just want you to listen
I just want you to look
I just want you to feel
I just want you to understand

You ignore me
You block me
You imprison me
You hate me

I can no longer talk
I can no longer walk
I can no longer interact
I can no longer be me

If you will not listen I will yell
If you will not look I will get in your way
If you will not feel then I will force
If you will not help me then I will destroy you

Elaine Scary

"The most obvious analogue to torture is war. The form of torture that leaves the prisoner untouched by the torturer but that requires prisoners to maim one another makes visible the connections between them. Some of the apparent differences between them are partially attributable to the fact that the symbolic and the fictional are much more prominent in torture. War more often arises where the enemy is external, occupies a separate space, where the impulse to obliterate a rival population and its civilization is not (or need not at first be perceived as) self-destruction. Torture usually occurs where the enemy is internal and where the destruction of a race and its civilization would be a self-destruction, an obliteration of one's own country. Hence there must be more drama in torture; the destruction must be acted out symbolically within a handful of rooms."  (From Elaine Scarry's The Body in Pain, p. 61)

____________________________

Broken

Broken Strings
Broken Heart

            Broken Treaties
            Broken Promises

                        Broken Windows
                        Broken Glass

            Broken Bodies
            Broken Bones

Broken Will
Broken Spirit

            Broken Brotherhood
            Broken Family

                       Broken System
                       Broken Country
            Broken Hopes
            Broken Dreams

Broken
Inside and Out

Reading Tiqqun

(Quoted passages come from Tiqqun's "This is not a program")

“Contrary to what THEY have told us, the warrior is not a figure of plentitude, and certainly not of virile plentitude. The warrior is a figure of amputation. The warrior is a being who feels he exists only through combat, through confrontation with the Other, a being who is unable to obtain for himself the feeling of existing… The warrior is in fact driven by a desire, and perhaps one sole desire: the desire to disappear. The warrior no longer wants to be, but wants his disappearance to have a certain style. He wants to humanize his vocation for death. That is why he never really manages to mix with the rest of humankind: they are spontaneously wary of his movement toward Nothingness. In their admiration for the warrior can be measured the distance they impose between him and them. The warrior is thus condemned to be alone. This leaves him greatly dissatisfied, dissatisfied because he is unable to belong to any community other than the false community, the terrible community, of warriors who have only their solitude in common. Prestige, recognition, glory are less the prerogative of the warrior than the only form of relationship compatible with his solitude. His solitude is at once his salvation and his damnation."

Holy shit…
This is talking about me…
Never have I read something that resonates so deeply within me.
My loneliness, my anger, my hate
Of them, of me, of war, of peace

          "The Warrior is a figure of anxiety and devastation. Because he isn’t present, is only for-death, his immanence has become miserable, and he knows it. He has never gotten used to the world, so he has no attachment to it; he awaits its end. But there is also a tenderness, even a gentleness about the warrior, which is this silence, this half-presence. If he isn’t present, it is often because otherwise he would only drag those around him into the abyss. That is how the warrior loves: by preserving others from the death he has at heart. Instead of the company of others, he thus often prefers to be alone, and this is more out of kindness than disgust. Or else he joins the grief-stricken pack of warriors who watch each other slide one by one towards death. Because such is their inclination."

I keep them away, so I don’t hurt them.
They'll never understand.
It's really for the best.
It's ok, I have my whiskey
And if it gets to painful, there's always that..

         "In a sense, the society to which the warrior belongs cannot help but distrust him. It doesn’t exclude him nor really include him; it excludes him through its inclusion and includes him through its exclusion. The ground of their mutual understanding is recognition. In according him prestige society keeps the warrior at a distance, attaching itself to him and by the same token condemning him…”

The VA…
The FUCKING VA…
More pills, more talk, more hurry up and wait.
Everyone says they love veterans
None of them have been to the VA

 

Malcolm X

"We haven't benefited from America's democracy. We've only suffered from America's hypocrisy. And the generation that is coming up now can see it, and are not afraid to say it. If you go to jail, so what? If you're black, you were born in jail. In the North as well as the South. Stop talking about the South. Long as you're south of the Canadian border, you're South…

It'll be the ballot or it'll be the bullet. It'll be liberty or it'll be death. And if you're not ready to pay that price, don't use the word freedom in your vocabulary." 

From Malcolm X’s “Bullet or the Ballot” speech.

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White Amerikkka has turned its back
It's now illegal to be Black
It has closed its eyes
It doesn’t give a fuck
Jail or death, test your luck?

The ballot has been thrown out
But there are plenty of bullets now
And guns for everyone
Fathers, daughters, and sons
Be afraid, be very afraid,
Smirks the NRA

But as a friend once said
Gun control without disarming the police, you'll still be dead.
They're militarized and quaking in their boots
Don’t be black, cause they will shoot

So here's some words for my white friends
Listen, learn, and help put this to an end
Cause we need you, with all your white might
Dismantling privilege and a system of hate
So that we can get to a place where we wont need to say… 

Take a knee
A man was lynched yesterday
I can't breath
Hands up, don't shoot
Black Lives Matter

What is Theotry?

Theotry is the combination of theory and poetry. It is where I take quotes from my favorite theorists and then write poetry based on those quotes. I was once told that theory is like an arrow that a theorist has shot out; from there someone else picks up that arrow and shoots it off in another direction. I hope to do the same with this project as I want to take these theories into a multiplicity of directions. I consider myself a political theorist, I also consider myself a poet, this is my attempt to combine two things I love.

While poetry is often political, political theory is rarely poetic (Audre Lorde, Deleuze and Guattarri, Gloria Anzaldua, Tiqqun, and the Invisible Committee, excluded. I know there are many more who are poetic but those are the  one's that  come to mind at the moment).  For me, poetry and political theory are two of the most important parts of my life. Poetry saved me from the darkness I faced after coming home from war, political theory helped me to understand that darkness.

Some of the folks I use quotes from are not traditionally called political theorists, however they have had an impact on my way of thinking about politics and about war. The poems do not necessarily represent the theory or the theorist, though sometimes they do. The quotes I use for inspiration range from their literary work to things they have said. Sometimes the poem describes my relationship to the quote, as many of these quotes can be just as personal as the poem. And many of the quotes relate to war, as that is my theoretical focus and is tied to my background as a war veteran and a peace activist, turned academic.

Does this water down arguments? Perhaps. Does it spark new forms of thought? Hopefully. So in the end, I hope these poems inspire you to engage more deeply with these political theorists; I hope it inspires you to write more poetry, and; I hope you find the links between theory and the everyday! This is my testimony, this is my praxis. Marcuse says, “Art doesn’t change the world, but it may change the consciousness of those who can change it,” and that is what I hope to do, work to shift our class consciousness.

"The revolution in poetic form testifies, in other words, to political and cultural changes whose historical manifestation, and its revolutionary aspect, is now noticed accidentally--accidentally breaks into awareness--through and accident of verse. The poetic revolution is thus both a replica and a sequence, an effect of, the French Revolution. What free verse by accident picks up on, therefore, is not merely former poetry which it now modifies, but the formerly unseen, ill-understood relationship which the accident reveals between culture and language, between poetry and politics." (from Shoshana Felman and Dori Laub's book Testimony: Crisis of witnissing in literature, psychoanalysis, and history. P. 20)

       p
       o
       e
Theotry
     r
     y

Guy DeBord

“To reflect upon history is also, inextricably, to reflect upon power. Greece was that moment when power and chances in power were first debated and undersoon. This occurred under a democracy of society’s masters, a system diametrically opposed to that of the despotic State, where power settled accounts only with itself, in the impenetrable obscurity of its densest point, by means of palace revolutions whose outcome, whether success or failure, invariably place the event itself beyond discussion. The shared power of Greek communities inhered solely, however, in the expending of a social life whose production remained the separate and static domain of the slave class. The only people who lived were those who did not work.”

               -Guy Debord, Society of the Spectacle. Pg 98

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My how history, how power, repeats itself, repeats, itself, repeat, repeat, re…

Plato and Jefferson sitting around waxing philosophy, Sophocles and Washington walk into a bar. All go home to their slaves. Freedom of the cave was democracy’s greatest lie.

White guys obsessing that Greeks had White slaves… calling taxation slavery… getting a refund at the end of the year… not knowing what real work was… what real slavery entailed.

Enlightenment…
     En light en men t
             In light of men?
                   In spite of women

Over and over again, the story is the same, follow me, listen to me, freedom, choice, democracy,
democra-me, demos me, me, ME, LISTEN TO ME… WHITE MAN SUPRE(ME)…

The lies of power