File spoon-archives/lyotard.archive/lyotard_2001/lyotard.0110, message 22

Date: Thu, 04 Oct 2001 22:11:07 +0100
Subject: lyotard on terroism and justice


I was suddenly curious regarding  regarding what Lyotard had said about 
Terroism, justice and his own position so...  whilst this is not 
strictly speaking directly relevant I was struck by the words on justice 
and judgement...

".... is it just that there is an american computer (military) in 
heidelburg, that is used to program the bombing of Hanoi? In the final 
analysis Schleyer thinks so. In the final analysis "Baader-Meinhof" 
thinks not.... Who is right?" He was then asked if it was un just that 
there was an American military computer in Hedielburg? "Yes, absolutely. 
I can say that such is my opinion. I feel committed in this respect..." 
 Lyotard's radicalism never left him, always he wanted to resist the 
dominant arguments in favor of supporting what in the end he called 
'development' (one of his best jokes) but which in earlier times he 
would have called 'capital'. Others have now used the name 'empire' that 
fantastic reference to the colonial past and further back into the world 
of history, the despotic empires of earlier days. As someone who 
believes that all 'real' intellectuals in the present are 'nomadic' and 
resistence to development is essential, after all what is the hurry to 
die? the rush to personal extinction to support such an absurb form of 
transcendence as development....

Justice Lyotard said, in one of those deeply secular moments which so 
remind me of Kristeva writing in 'nations without nationalism' is a 
trancendence, but one that is empty. It is empty because justice does 
not prescribe, it does not proscribe. Beyond this it does not insist... 
except that it does well to remember.... "I feel obligated with respect 
to the prescription that the Americans should get out of Vietnam, or the 
French out of Algeria. ou see. It does not mean that there is a means that I do not know who is sending the 
prescription in question..." What he goes onto suggest is that the 
oppressed, the vietnamese or the algerians were being treated by the 
Americans or the French (and I could add any of the G20 countries 
here...) in specific ways they were plpaced in a position where the 
'pragmatics of obligation was forbidden to them...' the right to make 
decisions, to live as they saw fit were denied to them. They had the 
right to rebel...

This is not incidentally to place these lessons from the fourth day as 
any kind of point of understanding of the 9/11, that is not the point 
but to remember that the events themselves are one thing but history and 
politics are another.

Politics is never moral, it is never ethical, and an ethical politics - 
contrary to those who believe 'ethics' in itself is enough is never 

After all as I speak the Israeli state is functioning as if it is 
directly descended from the facists who brought colonialism back home to 
Europe and created the Holocaust... Sometimes I think they are living 
proof  of the supierioty of the secular... Who can deny the right of the 
Palestinians to rebel against such an imposition.




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