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category international | miscellaneous | news report author Sunday May 06, 2007 17:06author by Libertarian Infusion Report this post to the editors

Legalise Cannabis March

400- 500 people march through the city center to demand the anti prohibition of cannabis.
Anti Prohibition March
Anti Prohibition March

400- 500 people march through the city center to demand the anti prohibition of cannabis.

It was an unusual occasion for those of us all too familiar with lefty gatherings in Dublin city center.

Unusual because it was not your typical lefty gathering.

It was an eclectic mix of color and people moving to some funky, chunky rhythm and sound beats.

There were no banners or flags of the established left, no anarchy, hammer and sickle flags , no in-your face paper sellers or distributors trying to convince you of their ideological position.

It was the first time since the Rossport 5 march (that i can remember) that people stopped and joined the march. It was the first time people smiled as they walked past or signaled their support through a handshake, wink or a clapping of the hands.

I would argue that the reason for this passive support was due to the absence of the usual political ideologies- groups that tend to dominate public demonstrations.

It was a rare and wonderful moment when people gathered against the tide of the established left and gathered on the basis of what is essentially a libertarian position (yet not within the class-left-libertarian framework)

Libertarian in that those present demanded that the state or anyone else for that matter ought not to have the right to prohibit something they all do in their private lives. It was not a naive celebration of a recreational drug as many on the left may have thought but a reflection on the ethos of most people living in Ireland in 2007 and this ethos is a desire to decide independently what they do with their bodies and mind.

The march was successful and enjoyable because it defied the political perspective of most groups on the left (both authoritarian and libertarian) .

In the fields of philosophy and political theory there are multiple criticisms of the current political and economic moment, which have identified the present as neo-liberalism, Empire, society of control, or spectacle, and so on. When it comes to discussions of how to transform the present, the field of philosophical positions narrows, considerably.

This is in part because change demands an agent, a subject, which appears to be increasingly absent. It is relatively easy to draw up a list of the problems of the current world order. It is more difficult, however, to identify how, and who, will change it. Historically and theoretically the place of the subject of radical politics is absent. Historically, the place of the working class, as “gravediggers” of an old order and architects of a new order, as the embodiment of the universal and “subject of history,” has been vacated.

In its place are numerous political identities: racial, ethnic, and sexual, which cannot or will not claim the space of the universal. Theoretically, the subject is seen as a product of power, of apparatuses of normalization, and thus of a subjection “deeper than himself.” The only possible liberation is through a process of desubjectification, to arrive at the anonymous flows of “bodies and pleasures.”

The need to rethink the relationship between “politics” and “the subject of politics” in the work of such thinkers as Jacques Rancière, Alain Badiou, and Antonio Negri has centered upon this frustration with who will be the agent for change. Most established left groups in Dublin still cling to a confused and lethargic notion of 'working class' as anyone who sells their labour, hence as soon as we all develop a recognition of ourselves as working class all we have to do is unite across our cultural/gender/racial/cultural/social differences and take on the 'ruling class'. Academically this argument is rarely taken seriously but usually for the wrong reasons.

The problem today as i see it, is that we need to formulate a new constitution of the subject that does not ignore the reality of class difference but equally does not naively cling to a constitution of class as outlined by Marx and Engels in the 18th century.

Thus, we have to ask ourselves; what activity today in 2007 will generically produce a new agent for social change.

It is against this shared problem of the “production” or constitution of subjectivity that the differences of libertarian politics of the left emerge. Differences that I think center on the role that “work” or “the figure of the worker” plays in articulating a theory of the production of subjectivity.

What is at stake in such an analysis, I think, is not a matter of finding “the next big thing from the left” or of settling the latest debate between contemporary philosophers, but of confronting a problem that is as unavoidable as it is apparently unsolvable.

We are living in an age in which the subject of politics is increasingly absent, the old names and markers of this process of subjectification, the “people,” “citizens,” or “the proletariat” have become empty names, devoid of meaning or content. Politics has become a process without a subject, in that it is carried out by polls and focus groups that only reflect back what has already declared the issue of the day by the various media outlets.

We need to make it possible to rethink the connections between politics and subjectivity by examining the way in which politics is always a matter of the constitution of new subjectivities capable of collectively carrying out a shared project.

The march today was indicative of this tension and perhaps an indication of things to come.

author by Sharon D.publication date Sun May 06, 2007 17:39author address author phone Report this post to the editors

You proclaim the lack of ideology of the marchers and then go on to apply one of the most arcane, academic and obtuse ideological models to it. You didn't even say much about the march really, 95% of your article is taken up with your ideological analysis - how about a bit of self-criticism?

author by .Hpublication date Sun May 06, 2007 17:48author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Grear article, kinda sums up how I feel. Glad the march was a success. I miss friendly gatherings of the left!

Love

author by Legalise itpublication date Sun May 06, 2007 18:32author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Certainly adds food (smoke ) for thought !!!

author by eddiepublication date Sun May 06, 2007 20:46author address author phone Report this post to the editors

This isn't really a news report, it's the musings of someone who thinks they know how the 399 other people on the march feel about a range of issues.

author by Anarchistapublication date Mon May 07, 2007 19:19author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I couldnt agree more with what you say, its kinda what i ahve thought for a long time. i wasnt at the march yesterday but i have heard musings from plenty of peple that they enjoyed it for the same reasons as you outlined.

Do you have any links to articles etc on the philosphers you mentioned in your article?

author by leftcommiepublication date Mon May 07, 2007 23:28author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Sorry but as much as I respect the person who produced this piece trying to pass off stoners as the new contradiction or even as indicitive of a new contradiction emerging within capitalism is just silly.

author by Libertarian Infusionpublication date Wed May 09, 2007 09:28author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Hey leftcommie

I agree that a load of stoners is hardly indicative of a new social tension at the heart of capitalism, and yes, it would be silly, but that is not what i am saying.

I was highlighting the tension of the established left and how it understands social change, i.e. its narrow understanding of class and how a lot of poltical activity today does not fit into the established lefts 'class framework' (i.e. libertarian/authoritarian communism) and hence, this march highlights the tension at the heart of a lot of left wing politcical activity.

Also, the attraction of this march was the fact that none of the established left wing groups were present in an organised sense. There were no banners, flags, paper sellers etc, and this is why i think so many random people joined in on the march.

Also, i think it is unfair to brush this march off as a load of stoners who are apolitical, anyone who was at the march could hardly come to that conclusion. It was definately politicised but again, not in the traditonal left's understanding of 'political'.

The march was highly political and as somone else mentioned on a separate thread, there was a hell of a lot more strong dublin accents at this event than your usual lefty gathering. In short, it was a much more working class event than any left gathering i have ever been at (and when i say working class i dont mean 85+% of people who sell their labour but say it in reference to community-area based geography, i.e. how most people understand class, and how most of us understand ourselves)

However, i dont really want to get into a big debate about what class means as it will go on forever, and its unlikely we will agree.

The major point was that this event was a breath of fresh air and really enjoyable, as most of the comments on the main thread highlight.

Anarchista:

I have lots of books/ links i could reccomend, but as i am in work i cant stay here too much longer, if you google any of the theorists you should get plenty of links.

But i will put some togther and post them up later in the week.

Slainte

author by redjadepublication date Wed May 09, 2007 14:01author address author phone Report this post to the editors

watch a documentary called 'Berkeley in the Sixties'

While the film is about Berkeley California, UCBerkeley University and, obviously, about 'The Sixties' it offers a lot insight on how movements work.

One thesis from the film explains how the Counter-Cultural Left was actually very different from and often contrary to the Ideological Left. But at the same time the two needed each other simbiotically.

Without the Ideological Left, The Counter-Cultural Left was merely a drug induced youth fad based on escapism and a rudderless rejection of society.

Without The Counter-Cultural Left, The Ideological Left was disconnected from talking to any real people and usually stayed within its own self-absorbed self-referential universe.

sound familiar?

In other words, The Counter-Cultural Left needed the idealism and planning of the The Ideological Left. And, The Ideological Left needed the throngs of hippies - stoned as they were - to appear at their rallies and so on.

i am simplifying the film waaaay too much, by the way

The film ends with the understanding that The Ideological Left's dependence on The Counter-Cultural Left was what limited it's ideas for larger acceptance in American society. But at the same time, The Ideological Left, perhaps, would never have gained as much strength as it did without The Counter-Cultural Left.

Such were the contradictions of those times.

great film! go get it....

'Berkeley in the Sixties'

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does the Left ever change?
does the Left ever change?

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