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notes
Today, one sees the beginnings of a society in which one proposes to apply to every
citizen the devices that had only been destined for delinquents. According to a
project that is already on the road to realization, the normal relationship of the State
to what Rousseau called the "members of the soveriegn" will be biometric, that is to
say, generalized suspicion.
Under the pressure of the growing depolitization of post-industrial societies, the
citizenry is progressively withdrawing from all political participation and seeing itself
more and more treated like virtual criminals. Thus the political body becomes a
criminal body.
The dangers of such a situation are obvious to all, except those who simply refuse
to see. One doesn't quite know if the photos that permitted the Nazi police forces in
the occupied countries to locate and record the Jews, thus facilitating their
deportation, were originally identity cards or professional cards. What will happen
when a despotic power makes use of the biometric records of an entire
population?
It is all the more worrisome that the European countries, after imposing biometric
supervision [controle] over immigrants, are now preparing to impose it on all of their
citizens. The reasons of security invoked in favor of these odious practices are not
convincing, because, if they can contribute to the prevention of recidivism, they are
certainly useless in preventing a first crime or act of terrorism. On the other
hand, they are perfectly efficacious for the massive control of individuals. The
day when biometric supervision has become generalized and surveillance by [video]
camera will be established along all the streets, all critique and all dissent will
have become impossible.

---Giorgio Agamben, No to Biometrics, EGS, 2005,


http://www.egs.edu/faculty/giorgio-agamben/articles/no-to-biometrics/

Brought to you by Charlie & Brandon

1ac

1ac biometrics
American politics is dominated by an axiom of security which
combines unprecedented economic liberalism with equally
absolute police and state control
Agamben 14 (Giorgio Ph.D., Baruch Spinoza Chair at the European Graduate
School, Professor of Aesthetics at the University of Verona, Italy, Professor of
Philosophy at Collge International de Philosophie in Paris, and at the University of
Macerata in Italy, From the State of Control to a Praxis of Destituent Power,
transcript of lecture delivered by Agamben in Athens, 11-16-13, published on
Roarmag, 2-4-14, http://roarmag.org/2014/02/agamben-destituent-powerdemocracy/)
A reflection on the destiny of democracy today here in Athens is in some way disturbing, because it obliges us to think the end of
democracy in the very place where it was born. As a matter of fact, the hypothesis I would like to suggest is that the prevailing
governmental paradigm in Europe today is not only non-democratic, but that it cannot either be considered as political. I will try
therefore to show that European society today is no longer a political society; it is something entirely new, for which we lack a

a concept which seems,


starting from September 2001, to have replaced any other political notion:
security. As you know, the formula for security reasons functions today in any domain,
from everyday life to international conflicts, as a codeword in order to impose
measures that the people have no reason to accept. I will try to show that the real purpose
of the security measures is not, as it is currently assumed, to prevent dangers,
troubles or even catastrophes. I will be consequently obliged to make a short genealogy of the concept of
proper terminology and we have therefore to invent a new strategy. Let me begin with

security. A Permanent State of Exception One possible way to sketch such a genealogy would be to inscribe its origin and history
in the paradigm of the state of exception. In this perspective, we could trace it back to the Roman principle Salus publica suprema
lex public safety is the highest law and connect it with Roman dictatorship, with the canonistic principle that necessity does not
acknowledge any law, with the comits de salut publique during French revolution and finally with article 48 of the Weimar republic,
which was the juridical ground for the Nazi regime. Such a genealogy is certainly correct, but I do not think that it could really

While the state of


exception was originally conceived as a provisional measure, which was meant to
cope with an immediate danger in order to restore the normal situation , the security
reasons constitute today a permanent technology of government. When in 2003 I
explain the functioning of the security apparatuses and measures which are familiar to us.

published a book in which I tried to show precisely how the state of exception was becoming in Western democracies a normal

The only clear precedent


was the Nazi regime. When Hitler took power in February 1933, he immediately
proclaimed a decree suspending the articles of the Weimar constitution concerning
personal liberties. The decree was never revoked, so that the entire Third Reich can
be considered as a state of exception which lasted twelve years . What is happening
today is still different. A formal state of exception is not declared and we see instead
that vague non-juridical notions like the security reasons are used to install a
stable state of creeping and fictitious emergency without any clearly identifiable
danger. An example of such non-juridical notions which are used as emergency
producing factors is the concept of crisis. Besides the juridical meaning of judgment in a trial, two
semantic traditions converge in the history of this term which, as is evident for you, comes from the
system of government, I could not imagine that my diagnosis would prove so accurate.

Greek verb crino; a medical and a theological one. In the medical tradition, crisis means the moment in which the doctor has to
judge, to decide if the patient will die or survive. The day or the days in which this decision is taken are called crisimoi, the decisive

what is essential
in both traditions is the connection with a certain moment in time . In the present
usage of the term, it is precisely this connection which is abolished . The crisis, the
judgement, is split from its temporal index and coincides now with the chronological
days. In theology, crisis is the Last Judgment pronounced by Christ in the end of times. As you can see,

course of time, so that not only in economics and politics but in every aspect of social life, the
crisis coincides with normality and becomes, in this way, just a tool of government.
Consequently, the capability to decide once for all disappears and the continuous
decision-making process decides nothing . To state it in paradoxical terms, we could say that, having to
face a continuous state of exception, the government tends to take the form of a
perpetual coup dtat. By the way, this paradox would be an accurate description of what happens here in Greece
as well as in Italy, where to govern means to make a continuous series of small coups dtat. Governing the Effects This is why I

the paradigm of the state of


exception is not entirely adequate. I will therefore follow Michel Foucaults suggestion and investigate the origin
think that, in order to understand the peculiar governmentality under which we live,

of the concept of security in the beginning of modern economy, by Franois Quesnais and the Physiocrates, whose influence on
modern governmentality could not be overestimated. Starting with Westphalia treaty, the great absolutist European states begin to
introduce in their political discourse the idea that the sovereign has to take care of its subjects security. But Quesnay is the first to
establish security (suret) as the central notion in the theory of government and this in a very peculiar way. One of the main

Before Quesnay, the usual


methodology was trying to prevent famines through the creation of public granaries
and forbidding the exportation of cereals. Both these measures had negative effects on production.
Quesnays idea was to reverse the process : instead of trying to prevent famines, he
decided to let them happen and to be able to govern them once they occurred ,
problems governments had to cope with at the time was the problem of famines.

liberalizing both internal and foreign exchanges. To govern retains here its etymological cybernetic meaning: a good kybernes, a
good pilot cant avoid tempests, but if a tempest occures he must be able to govern his boat, using the force of waves and winds for

This is the meaning of the famous motto laisser faire, laissez passer: it is not only the
catchword of economic liberalism; it is a paradigm of government , which conceives of
security (suret, in Quesnays words) not as the prevention of troubles, but rather as the ability
to govern and guide them in the right direction once they take place. We should not
neglect the philosophical implications of this reversal . It means an epochal
transformation in the very idea of government, which overturns the traditional
hierarchical relation between causes and effects . Since governing the causes is difficult and expensive, it
is safer and more useful to try to govern the effects. I would suggest that this theorem by Quesnay is the axiom of
modern governmentality. The ancien regime aimed to rule the causes; modernity
pretends to control the effects. And this axiom applies to every domain, from economy to ecology, from foreign and
navigation.

military politics to the internal measures of police. We must realize that European governments today gave up any attempt to rule

Quesnays theorem makes also understandable a


fact which seems otherwise inexplicable: I mean the paradoxical convergence today of
an absolutely liberal paradigm in the economy with an unprecedented and equally
absolute paradigm of state and police control. If government aims for the effects and not the causes, it will
the causes, they only want to govern the effects. And

be obliged to extend and multiply control. Causes demand to be known, while effects can only be checked and controlled.

Biometric surveillance of American citizens poses a grave


threat to democracy and reduces citizens to their biological
identity
Agamben 14 (Giorgio Ph.D., Baruch Spinoza Chair at the European Graduate
School, Professor of Aesthetics at the University of Verona, Italy, Professor of
Philosophy at Collge International de Philosophie in Paris, and at the University of
Macerata in Italy, From the State of Control to a Praxis of Destituent Power,
transcript of lecture delivered by Agamben in Athens, 11-16-13, published on
Roarmag, 2-4-14, http://roarmag.org/2014/02/agamben-destituent-powerdemocracy/)

One important sphere in which the axiom is operative is that of biometrical security
apparatuses, which increasingly pervade every aspect of social life . When
biometrical technologies first appeared in 18th century in France with Alphonse Bertillon and in
England with Francis Galton, the inventor of finger prints, they were obviously not meant to prevent
crimes but only to recognize recidivist delinquents . Only once a second crime has occurred, you can use
the biometrical data to identify the offender. Biometrical technologies, which had been invented for recividist criminals, remained for
a long time their exclusive privilege. In 1943, US Congress still refused the Citizen Identification Act, which was meant to introduce

according to a sort of fatality or unwritten law of


modernity, the technologies which have been invented for animals , for criminals,
strangers or Jews, will finally be extended to all human beings. Therefore, in the course
of 20th century, biometric technologies have been applied to all citizens , and Bertillons
for every citizen an Identity Card with finger prints. But

identification photographs and Galtons fingerprints are currently in use everywhere for ID cards. The De-politicization of Citizenship

the extreme step has been taken only in our days and it is still in the process of
full realization. The development of new digital technologies, with optical scanners
which can easily record not only finger prints but also the retina or the eyes iris
structure, biometrical apparatuses tend to move beyond the police stations and
immigration offices and spread into everyday life. In many countries, the access to students restaurants
But

or even to schools is controlled by a biometric apparatus on which the student just puts his or her hand. The European industries in
this field, which are quickly growing, recommend that citizens get used to this kind of control from their early youth. The
phenomenon is really disturbing, because the European Commissions for the development of security (like the ESPR, European
Security Research Program) include among their permanent members the representatives of the big industries in the field, which are

It
is easy to imagine the dangers represented by a power that could have at
its disposal the unlimited biometric and genetic information of all its
citizens. With such a power at hand, the extermination of the Jews, which was undertaken on
the basis of incomparably less efficient documentation, would have been total and incredibly swift . But I will
just the old armaments producers like Thales, Finmeccanica, EADS et BAE System, that have converted to the security business.

not dwell on this important aspect of the security problem. The reflections I would like to share with you concern rather the

This
transformation is so extreme that we can legitimately ask not only if the society in
which we live is still a democratic one, but also if this society can still be considered
political. Christian Meier has shown how in the 5th century a transformation of the conceptualization of the political took place
transformation of political identity and of political relationships that are involved in security technologies.

in Athens, which was grounded on what he calls a politicization (politisierung) of citizenship. While until that moment the fact of
belonging to the polis was defined by a number of conditions and social statuses of different kind for instance belonging to
nobility or to a certain cultural community, to be a peasant or merchant, a member of a certain family, etc. from now on
citizenship became the main criterion of social identity. The result was a specifically Greek conception of citizenship, in which the
fact that men had to behave as citizens found an institutional form. The belonging to economic or religious communities was
removed to a secondary rank. The citizens of a democracy considered themselves as members of the polis only in so far as they
devoted themselves to a political life. Polis and politeia, city and citizenship, constituted and defined one another. Citizenship
became in that way a form of life, by means of which the polis constituted itself in a domain clearly distinct from the oikos, the
house. Politics became therefore a free public space as such opposed to the private space, which was the reign of necessity.
According to Meier, this specifically Greek process of politicization was transmitted to Western politics, where citizenship remained

this fundamental political factor has


entered an irrevocable process that we can only define as a process of increasing
de-politicization. What was in the beginning a way of living, an essentially and irreducibly
active condition, has now become a purely passive juridical status , in which action and
inaction, the private and the public are progressively blurred and become indistinguishable. This process of the depoliticization of citizenship is so evident that I will not dwell on it . Rise of the State of Control I
will rather try to show how the paradigm of security and the security apparatuses
have played a decisive role in this process . The growing extension to citizens of
technologies which were conceived for criminals inevitably has consequences for
the political identity of the citizen. For the first time in the history of humanity, identity is no
longer a function of the social personality and its recognition by others , but rather a
function of biological data, which cannot bear any relation to it, like the arabesques of the fingerprints or the
the decisive element. The hypothesis I would like to propose to you is that

The most neutral and private thing becomes the


decisive factor of social identity , which loses therefore its public character . If my
identity is now determined by biological facts that in no way depend on my will and
over which I have no control, then the construction of something like a political and
ethical identity becomes problematic. What relationship can I establish with my fingerprints or my genetic
disposition of the genes in the double helix of DNA.

code? The new identity is an identity without the person, as it were, in which the space of politics and ethics loses its sense and

While the classical Greek citizen was defined through


the opposition between the private and the public , the oikos, which is the place of reproductive life, and
the polis, place of political action, the modern citizen seems rather to move in a zone of
indifference between the private and the public , or, to quote Hobbes terms, the physical and the political
body. The materialization in space of this zone of indifference is the video surveillance
of the streets and the squares of our cities . Here again an apparatus that had been
conceived for the prisons has been extended to public places . But it is evident that a videorecorded place is no more an agora and becomes a hybrid of public and private ; a zone of
indifference between the prison and the forum . This transformation of the political
space is certainly a complex phenomenon that involves a multiplicity of causes , and
among them the birth of biopower holds a special place . The primacy of the
biological identity over the political identity is certainly linked to the
politicization of bare life in modern states. But one should never forget that the leveling of social
identity on body identity begun with the attempt to identify the recidivist criminals. We should not be astonished if
today the normal relationship between the state and its citizens is defined by
suspicion, police filing and control. The unspoken principle which rules our society
can be stated like this: every citizen is a potential terrorist. But what is a state
ruled by such a principle? Can we still define it as democratic state? Can we even consider it as something political?
In what kind of state do we live today? You will probably know that Michel Foucault, in his book Surveiller et
must be thought again from the ground up.

Punir and in his courses at the Collge de France, sketched a typological classification of modern states. He shows how the state of
the Ancien Regime, which he calls the territorial or sovereign state and whose motto was faire mourir et laisser vivre, evolves
progressively into a population state and into a disciplinary state, whose motto reverses now into faire vivre et laisser mourir, as it

The state in which


we live now is no more a disciplinary state. Gilles Deleuze suggested to call it the tat de
contrle, or control state, because what it wants is not to order and to impose
discipline but rather to manage and to control . Deleuzes definition is correct, because management and
will take care of the citizens life in order to produce healthy, well-ordered and manageable bodies.

control do not necessarily coincide with order and discipline. No one has told it so clearly as the Italian police officer, who, after the
Genoa riots in July 2001 declared that the government did not want for the police to maintain order but for it to manage disorder.

American political scientists who have tried to analyze the


constitutional transformation involved in the Patriot Act and in the other laws which
followed September 2001 prefer to speak of a security state. But what does
security here mean? It is during the French Revolution that the notion of security
suret, as they used to say is linked to the definition of police . The laws of March 16, 1791 and August 11,
From Politics to Policing

1792 introduced thus into French legislation the notion of police de suret (security police), which was doomed to have a long
history in modernity. If you read the debates which preceded the vote on these laws you will see that police and security define one
another, but no one among the speakers (Brissot, Heraut de Schelle, Gensonn) is able to define police or security by themselves.

The debates focused on the situation of the police with respect to justice and
judicial power. Gensonn maintains that they are two separate and distinct powers, yet, while the function of the judicial
power is clear, it is impossible to define the role of the police. An analysis of the debate shows that the place and
function of the police is undecidable and must remain undecidable , because, if it
were really absorbed in the judicial power, the police could no more exist. This is the
discretionary power which still today defines the actions of police officer, who, in a concrete situation of danger for the public
security act, so to speak, as a sovereign. But, even when he exerts this discretionary power, the policeman does not really take a
decision, nor prepares, as is usually stated, the judges decision. Every decision concerns the causes, while the police acts on
effects, which are by definition undecidable.

The name of this undecidable element is no more today, like it

was in 17th century, raison dtat, or state reason. It is rather security

reasons. The security state is a


police state, but, again, in the juridical theory, the police is a kind of black hole. All we can
say is that when the so called science of the police first appears in the 18th century, the police is brought back to its etymology
from the Greek politeia and opposed as such to politics. But it is surprising to see that police coincides now with the true political
function, while the term politics is reserved for foreign policy. Thus Von Justi, in his treatise on Policey-Wissenschaft, calls Politik the
relationship of a state with other states, while he calls Polizei the relationship of a state with itself. It is worthwhile to reflect upon

placing
itself under the sign of security, the modern state has left the domain of politics to
enter a no mans land, whose geography and whose borders are still unknown . The
security state, whose name seems to refer to an absence of cares (securus from sine cura) should, on the contrary,
make us worry about the dangers it involves for democracy, because in it
political life has become impossible, while democracy means precisely the possibility
of a political life.
this definition: Police is the relationship of a state with itself. The hypothesis I would like to suggest here is that,

Biometrics biologizes life, entrenching violent biopolitics


Muller 10 (Benjamin J. Assistant Professor in International Relations and Political
Theory at the University of Western Ontario, Ph.D. from Queens University Belfast,
Security, Risk and the Biometric State: Governing Borders and Bodies, p. 22-23)
security measures such as
biometrics are not only charged with having to specify the attributes of their
subjects, but also indicate their own fallibility (Dillon 2003: 554). One could phrase this differently as follows:
like all security measures, the characteristics of the subject of security require
description; however, the extent to which the technological system itself is a
potential threat must be recognized. In this political space of biometrics where, as Dillon
suggests, the physical and the virtual meet, there is a definite fortification of biological life over
political life and the further entrenchment of the biopolitical. Here, the
introduction of biometric technologies is a cogent example of Agambens suggestion
that security is imposing itself as the basic principle of state activity , leading to the
gradual neutralization of politics (Agamben 2002). Underscoring the extent to which
the relationship between the collected data and the subject of that collection is
markedly different from traditional analogue procedures for data collection , this
discussion of the introduction of biometric technologies as constituent of virtual security
(and thus, virtual borders), the move towards the state of exception as the rule , and the
general biologization of life, indicate a dramatic difference between digital data
collection and analogue vis--vis security, subjectivity and sovereignty. In fact,
arguments insensitive to such phenomena as exemplified in the biometrics literature, the CIC forum, and
to a lesser extent the European Commission report misleadingly focus on the policy of biometrics
rather than the politics of biometrics.
In exposing what he calls virtual security politics, Dillon notes the extent to which

The biologization of life and resulting calculability renders


some fit to live and others fit to die
Dillon 5 (Michael Professor of Politics and International Relations at Lancaster
University, Cared to Death: The Political Time of Your Life, in Foucault Studies, No.
2, p. 37-38, May 2005, http://rauli.cbs.dk/index.php/foucaultstudies/article/viewFile/858/876)

biopolitics
must determine the quality of the stuff so that investment in its extraction, promotion
and refinement may itself be continuously assessed . It follows that some life will be found
to be worth investment, some life less worth investment, while other life may prove intractable
to the powers of investment and the demands it makes on life . Here, assaying morphs into
evaluating the eligibility and not simply the expected utility of life forms. Ultimately, some life may turn out to be
positively inimical to the circulation of life in which this investment driven process of
biopolitics continuously trades, and have to be removed from life if its antipathy to
biopoliticised life cannot otherwise be adapted , correctedor contained. Behind the lifecharged rhetoric of biopolitics, lies the biologisation of life to which biopolitics is
committed, the violence of that biologisation and the reduction of the classical
political question concerning the good life (and the good death) to that of the endlessly
extendable, fit and adaptable life. The good life Agamben refigures in terms of the pure - he also says 'profane'
One might say in Heideggerian fashion that life is the stuff of biopolitics. In the process of reducing life to stuff,

but note that there is no profanity without sanctity - immanence of 'happy life'.

Biometric security technologies pre-emptively combat whom


the powerful deem as a threat to society
Lattimer 13 (Connor Undergraduate Scholar at the University of London, The
Politics of Surveillance in a Risk Society, in E-IR, 9-15-13, http://www.eir.info/2013/09/05/the-politics-of-surveillance-in-a-risk-society/)
Obamas desire to continue the WoT through sophisticated surveillance
technologies, such as the MQ-1 Predator drone, imposes a strategic rationale for anticipatory
defence or pre-emptive security. The US at present deploys drones beyond the borders of Iraq and Afghanistan to
anticipate the rise of future threats, including Pakistan, North Korea, and Iran, which raises questions on whether distant (both in
time and space) risks should be left to lie, or woken up by military invasion. The information collected through pre-emptive practices
drive forward this new security culture as intelligence, is harnessed to aid creative scenario-making by civil servants in Whitehall (De

The new security culture created by surveillance technologies becomes a


risk, with pre-emptive policy often boomeranging rather than achieving the
desired outcome (Daalder, 2007, 2006; Bigo, 2002). For example, Obamas plans to create stability in the Middle East as
Goede, 2008).

well as new strategic options are bogged down in continual drone operations that kill more civilians than what may be deemed as

Clausewitzs scientific and rational, means to an end military


strategy is replaced by imaginative, risk-based scenarios, driven by the political
mind. Thus, war becomes an art; a way of doing politics (Machiavelli, 2004[1521]). The role of surveillance
technologies in facilitating a pre-emptive security culture are not bound to the Orient or so-called
rogue states, but manifest themselves within banal environments of homeland nations .
terrorists (Harris, 2012).

CCTV has dominated Londons cityscape with the aim to manage the unpredictable security environment. Amoore and Hall (2008)

management of risk rests upon identification and verification of the body ,


decided by security professionals who are based upon a particular bio-politics . The
body becomes the platform of political decision-making, as well as an objectification of security
practices by using technologies of risk (De Geode, 2005). Surveillance technologies as a
management of risk have significant political implications in that security
professionals and politicians view them as inevitable structural threats (Aradau et al,
2008:151). Security becomes filtered down to the everyday through the usage of CCTV, as well as
biometric borders through systems of data-surveillance to determine whether an
individual is understood as a risk to the political narrative of the state (Braverman, 2011;
Foucault, 1997) (Plate 1). Security within the homeland, as well as the Orient, relies on preemptive technologies that generate a priori information (Harraway, 2000). Therefore,
note the

this new security culture is based upon a political imagination and those in positions
of power are able to re-inscribe the societal landscape by determining who and
what constitutes as a threat (not a risk). Surveillance technologies are furthering the
change in a security culture towards pre-emption and anticipatory logics within the
risk-society, although such technologies have always been and will continue to be powered by political decision-making.
The security culture of pre-emption is new, but the pre-emptive logic is not. Rooted within the environmental
movements precautionary principle, the risk-management approach was away of advancing action on climate change and
environmental issues before an evidence-base could be established (ORiordann). The argument of Lomborg (2001) suggests an
evidence-base would take too long to collect, thus it would be too late to deal with the risks from environmental change, and instead
politicians were required to act now. Furthermore, stamping on risks before they materialise into greater threats was also part of
former Mayor of New York City, Rudolph Giulianis order maintenance policing that dealt with petty crimes in radical ways which

Pre-emption is rooted within a


political and policy-making history, but has recently been developed into a new
security culture as a result of the role surveillance technologies perform in the WoT .
was understood to prevent risks from much larger forms of crime (Morris, 2003).

Lattimer politics 1lattimer politics 2 lattimer politics 3 Necessary Surveillance Understanding the role of surveillance technologies in
the WoT implies these technologies are a necessary component in undertaking practices for a war on terror. Developing the current
theme of this paper, I argue surveillance technologies have been necessary in fulfilling a particular political narrative casted by
President Bush and Prime Minister Blair in the WoT. The risk-society marks a transformation from military personnel commanding
threats in the Cold War to politicians managing risks in the 21st Century. Foreign Policy Nation-building has been a central part of
Bushs WoT foreign policy, with the intention to make major investments in post-conflict states and regions, both economically and
politically. Secretary of State Colin Powells once-you-break-it, you-own-it Pottery Barn Rule has become a major part of the political
narrative embedded in US Foreign Policy (Sperling, 2010). Nonetheless, the stabilisation of post-conflict territory has a darker and
cynical side to it performed through the usage of surveillance technologies at US operated checkpoints, including the Musayyib,
south of Baghdad. The Musayyib checkpoint serves as a demarcation between north and south Baghdad, with an aim of identifying
suspicious individuals who may attempt to challenge the reconstruction of Iraq. Like Israel, Iraq has become a state of checkpoints
whereby the authority of two states becomes blurred and unclear (Braverman, 2011:01). The Musayyib checkpoint is part of a larger
policy in deploying the ultimate panopticon, with little controversy in foreign territories. The Combat Zones That See (CTS) program
aims to network thousands of sophisticated cameras and UAVs with complex computer code located in databases to monitor the
entire City of Baghdad. The roots of the USs Foreign Policy are not concerned with economic and political reconstruction but

Foreign policy becomes part


of the broader security culture of filtering risks through pre-emption to prevent
worse-case scenarios imaged by politicians . The role of surveillance technologies in reconstructing postmilitarisation and reconnaissance of foreign territory in the anticipation of future risks.

conflict territory becomes a process of militarisation with the aim to continuously monitor the future development of Iraq.
Statesmen, such as Bush and Obama, narrate a positive political narrative to the public, whilst using surveillance technologies to
drive forward the true purpose of reconstruction in Iraq. Shedding light on the truth of US Foreign Policy obviously presents issues
over Americas role as the World Police. The Republican senator Gary Hart argues America is in a dichotomy of becoming an Empire
when it is a Republic, through using surveillance technologies as ways to practice neo-imperialism in the WoT (Hart, 2007). National
Security Surveillance technologies are necessary in fulfilling political goals through two-sided foreign policies in the WoT.

technologies have also become a necessary part in the national security


narrative, most loudly spoken by Prime Minister Blair. Blair harnessed CCTV beyond its capabilities of detecting crime, to a
Nonetheless,

technology that can work on algorithmic data to pre-empt acts of terrorism before they are committed within homeland nations
(Amoore, 2009). Nonetheless, from this discussion, it will appear that surveillance technologies only become necessary in the WoT

Politics drives forward these technologies and gives them a


purpose; an image of necessity in combating international terrorism. Protecting Londons
to carry out political doctrine.

economic heart is the ring of steel with over 1,500 cameras, 10% of which have facial recognition capabilities able to detect facial
characteristics from up to 20 meters away (Coaffe, 2004). Similar to US Foreign Policy, UK national security strategy attempts to
control and regulate territory through the deployment of the camera. The politics emerges out of the classification in which is
established based on sex, ethnicity, and age to inform security professionals whether a decision should be made to arrest or
interrogate an individual based on the grounds of pre-emption. Unlike its former self, the ring of steel does not act as a deterrent as

Facial
recognition technologies operationalise the liberal project of globalization ,
modernity, and identity in which the body becomes subjected to political debate and
contestation of whether an individual is a terror suspect (Reid, 2006). The role of facial recognition
it did during the Provisional Irish Republican Army bombings, but an attempt to filter risks based on political criteria.

cameras is moving beyond the political narratives of Blair and Bushs rhetoric on protecting the homeland, to being used as a
marketing tool to decide what kind of advertising people receive based on the systems own criteria (Booth, 2012). The politics of
risk management, with regards to surveillance technologies, has blurred national security with the profit-motive, which inevitably
leads to a failure of the liberal project. In 2003, the CIA launched a futures market for terrorism as a way to collect intelligence on
where and when a terrorist attack would happen. The belief was that future markets had proven incredibly accurate in anticipating
elections results, thus collecting information on terrorism could aid scenario making. The market would become the rationality for
future conflict and security, rather than relying on expert opinion or the individual analyst (Daalder, 2007, 2006). Giddens (1998)
argues that

the risk society makes technological necessary by becoming dependent

on it in generating a diversity of possible futures . He argues that having such


surveillance technologies with capabilities of pre-empting bridges the gap between
the present and the future . Dillon (1996) argues that making security and war a decision of the market actually leads
to a paradox and generates greater insecurity rather than security. This liberal way multiplies the reasons for making war, as acts of

Facial
recognition cameras are part of fighting the next war, but within the homeland, they aim to prevent
risks from becoming threats that cause domestic insecurity , as well as result in overseas conflict.
Technological innovation makes the perceived demands of the future determine
present action which is no longer controlled by military practices , but politics
terrorism are driven by the profit motive. In a credit society, with more finance available, this leads to vast insecurity (ibid).

(Rasmussen, 2006:65). Technologies within the homeland extend the pre-emptive narrative beyond the boundaries of Iraq and
Afghanistan, bringing risk-management back to the homeland as a way of fighting future wars.

This is exemplified in biopolitical racial profiling through


biometrics
Pugliese 12 (Joseph Professor and Research Director at Macquarie University,
Identity Dominance, in Biometrics: Bodies, Technologies, Biopolitics, Routledge,
2012, p. 98)
Biometric templates exemplify the post-biological , in silico networking of a subject who
can no longer govern or control the heterogeneous dispersal of her or his
identificatory body-bits-as-template-proxies. It is at this juncture that a disarticulation is enunciated, a
disarticulation that vitiates a subjects agentic self-recovery and governance of her or his heterogeneous body-bits and identity

subjects biometric proxies may be mobilised, indeed, as agents of the


biopolitical state deployed to ensnare and convict the targeted individual . We are there,
proxies. At this juncture, a

writes Levinas (2003, 67), and there is nothing more to be done, or anything to add to this fact that we have been entirely
delivered updelivered up by our biometric proxies to the state. Malcolm Crompton (2002) has examined the privacy implications
of the biometric capture of bodily information, with a particular focus on the manner in which a persons biometric scans can often

racial profiling, as deployed by both


military and police forces, I want to emphasise that a subjects biometric body-bits may
become precisely proxies for criminalisation. When being black (or Latino or
Asian [or of Middle Eastern appearance] is used as a proxy for criminality or
dangerousness in a society in which relative few are criminals , David Harris (2002, 106) notes,
profiles based on or including race will always sweep too widely . Within these
political economies of biopower, biometrics interweaves flesh with algorithms in
order to freeze a subjects identity regardless of his or her permutations. At work here are
the biopolitical operations whereby, to paraphrase Levinas, the subject is riveted to the fatality of the
biological, even as the biological is transmuted in silico: The essence of humanity is no longer in freedom but in a kind of
reveal a range of medical conditions. Within the specific context of

bondage. To be truly oneself is ... to become aware of the ineluctable bondage unique to your body ... And then, if race did not exist,

The re-invention of race in the context


of this biometric riveting of identity to the body is clearly enunciated in these
contemporary modalities of racial profiling and, as I discuss later, in the biometric surveillance
and control of geopolitical borders, refugees and asylum seekers.
it would be necessary to invent it! (Levinas cited in Rolland 2003, 31).

The logic of pre-emption perversely brings threats into


existence in order to eliminate them
Massumi 15 (Brian Professor of Communication at the University of Montreal,
The Remains of the Day, in Emotions, Politics and War, Ed. hll and Gregory,
2015)

This isn't just stupidity or faulty reasoning. There is a perverse logic to it. Because if you accept that it's paramount to respond to
threat, and that you have to act in response to it even if it has not yet fully emerged, or even if it is hasn't really even begun to

A
terrorist threat can strike like lightning. Like lightning it can strike anywhere and any
time. But worse than lightning, it can strike anywhere at any time in any guise. This time it might be planes
crashing into buildings. Next time it might be an improvised explosive device. Or
a bomb in a subway. Or anthrax in the mail. No one knows. This only makes the
urgency of action all the more acute. Faced with urgent need to act in the face of the
unknown-unknown of a threat that has not yet emerged , there is only one
reasonable thing to do: flush it out. Poke the soft tissue. Prod the terrain. Stir things up and see
what starts to emerge. Create the conditions for the emergence of threat.
Start the threat on the way to becoming a clear and present danger , and then nip it
in the bud with your superior rapid-response capabilities . Make it real so you can
really eliminate it. I'm not saying that the Bush administration consciously decided to make Iraq a staging ground for
emerge, then you're facing a real conundrum. If you wait for the emergence, you'll have waited too long -- too late.

terrorism. I'm only saying that the fact that their preemptive actions did in fact do that fits perfectly into the logic of preemption,

It is fundamental to the logic of preemption


to produce what it is designed to avoid. That is the only way to give its urgent need to "go kinetic" in
and says something fundamental about what that logic implies.

response to threat something positive to attack. This is what distinguishes preemption from the logic presiding over the previous
age of conflict, the Cold War. The logic of the Cold War was deterrence: making something not happen. The goal, faced with the
clear and present danger of nuclear Armageddon, was to hold it in potential, to make sure the threat was never realized, precisely
by refraining from preemptive attack. What was fundamental to the logic of deterrence was the impossibility of a first strike

Deterrence exercises a negative power . In a way, it's logic is


the inverse of the logic of preemption. Its aim is to prevent the unthinkable from happening by transforming a
exactly what preemption requires.

clear and present danger into a threat, then to hold the threat in abeyance, so that it continues to loom over the present indefinitely,

Preemption, by
suspends the present. It puts us and our actions in that conditional timeloop of the would have/could have. It hangs us on a thread of futurity. It does this in order to make the
would-have-been/could-have-been a "will-have-been-in-any-case." The job of preemption is to translate the
unknown-unknown into a foregone conclusion. Preemption always will have been
right, because it exercises a positive power , a reality-producing power to make
things emerge. There is a word for a reasoning that is always right regardless of the objective situation, and that always
so that it doesn't follow any action path back to the future. The aim of deterrence aim was to suspend threat.
contrast,

leads a foregone conclusion in any case. The word is tautological. The logic of preemption is a tautological logic. But that's just the

The logic of preemption is a tautological logic that has the power to


produce the reality to which it responds. In spite of being tautological, or because of the particular
way it is tautological, preemption works. It operates. It operationalizes the future of threat in a way that
really, positively produces a future. It is an operative logic. I call an operative logic that is positively
productive of what will really come to be, an ontopower "onto-" meaning being. An ontopower is a power that
makes things come to be: that moves a futurity felt in the present, into a presence
in the future. When threat becomes effectively tautological, and power becomes ontopower, everything has changed. We've
half of it.

entered a brave new world, a new regime of power, and a new political era And yes, the more things change, the more they stay the
same. In a recent book, Andrew Bacevich, a life-long military careerist turned military critic, laments that "since taking office,
President Obama has acted on many fronts to adjust the way the United States exercized that leadership. Yet these adjustments

The global war on terror [begun by Bush has not only]


continued [under Obama] .. it has metastasized." It has turned cancerous. It has turned into
a self-driving tendency that has swept Obama up in it. The operative logic of
preemption is not a logic he has it has him. It has proven itself a selfpropagating historical force, an operative historical logic whose "rightness" is
still, as always, a foregone conclusion . It has proven its ability to continue, as a tendency, across the break
have seldom risen above the cosmetic.

between administrations and the changes on the level of explicitly stated doctrine. I will briefly go into how Bush's 9-11fueled-"everything-changed" is now Obama's "more off the same," despite the differences in doctrine, the change in the cast of
characters, and the obvious differences in personal quality and leadership style. But before I do that, I want to draw out a bit more
some of the implications of the recentering of war and politics on threat. On the way, I want to respond to an objection I've left my
account open to. The example of Al-Qaeda in Iraq that was central to my argument that preemptive power is a productive power is

just one example. In many eyes it might seem a weak one, since it could be laid to unforeseen collateral effects, and dismissed as a

in the operative logic


of preemption more-or-less unforeseen effects are precisely what is and must be
produced. If the situation is really one full of unknown-unknowns , in a perpetually
crisis-ridden, ungraspably complex, increasingly chaotic world, then unforeseen effects will
always accompany any action carried out according to any logic . That's a corrollary of the
foregone conclusion. What's particular about preemption is that makes a virtue of this. It turns this problem into
something positive as well. It turns it into a mechanism that fosters its own
continuation and proliferation. It can't make the unknown-unknown known. It can't pre-form or fore-see the exact
nature of the reality it will produce. But if it is ready with fast-adapting rapid response capabilities, it can field the
effects it brings into being, by immediately going kinetic in a follow-up action . When it
flushes out threat, it can contrive to keep the emergence within parameters it can handle, more-or-less. There will be
threat again. But if all goes well it will be in more controllable parameters. Preemption can then relegitimate itself affectively, and redeploy. In this way, to use the military theory jargon, the
operative logic of preemption "leverages" uncertainty . What preemptive power must
do is remain poised to go kinetic again and again, in serial response to the
exercise of its own ontopower. Every time it acts, it must already be poising itself to act again, with equal urgency.
In that way, each of its actions will contain within it the seeds of the next action, and
that action, the action after, so that the deployment of preemption cascades,
bringing its affective legitimation by threat with it, step by step . Preemptive action
has become self-driving. It only stands to reason that if terrorist threat is ever-present and
proliferates in unforeseen ways, then the power mobilized against it must be
similarly ever-present and proliferating. ow could anyone argue that we shouldn't be capable of
mere anomaly or accident, or simply a product of a miscalculation. The point I want to make is that

fielding uncertainty? We must always be poised for threat. We must assume the posture -- even if the stated doctrine has changed.
If we sit on our hands, all it will take to delegitimate a government would be another terror attack that happened on its watch.

No

government can afford not to be in a posture of preemption . We must assume the posture at
every moment we must be poised to go kinetic at a moment's notice, whenever and wherever in the world that threat is felt to
loom. Whenever and wherever. The realignment on time I mentioned earlier ends up driving a a tendency for the logic set in motion

The operative logic of preemptive is not only self-driving ; it is selfexpanding. We watched this happen. Iraq was in fact used as a terror training ground.
Terrorist techniques such as the improvised explosive device and suicide bombings
were perfected there, then carried to the other front, Afghanistan, where they
fueled a resurgent insurgency . The preemptive follow-up response on the part of the US was to expand the use of
to turn space-filling.

counter-terrorist tactics that matched the IED attack in terms of their ability to strike by surprise with lightning speed, and to morph
themselves to the shape any kind of circumstance, taking any number of guises. The use of these techniques by the US military
exploded. Chief among them were targeted assassinations using rapidly-deployed special operations forces, and unmanned drone
attacks. This escalation began under Bush , but was taken to new levels by Obama , who
had criticized the war in Iraq and called for its winding down only in order to shift attention to Afghanistan, which he defined as the

The blowback
from US cross-border drone attacks and special operations in Pakistan have
energized activity elsewhere in the world: in Somalia, in Yemen. Yet another proliferation. US
"good war" and the right war. The right war overflowed to the wrong side of the border, into Pakistan.

drone attacks and special ops have followed. Preemptive US military intervention has expanded to yet another continent. The
invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan may be winding down. But the preemptive military posture of the US has only spread. And

nowhere has terrorist threat stopped looming. Last month (July 2011) was the bloodiest for
months for US military personnel in Iraq, and terrorist attacks in Afghanistan picked up spectacularly with the assassinations of the
governor of Kandahar province and the mayor of Kandahar city. Even after the "withdrawal" of US troops from Iraq, there will be a
continuing US presence indefinitely into the future, as Obama's Secretary of Defense Robert Gates put it, in order to "fill the gap in
Iraqi Security Force operations." This continuing presence will be in the form of five high-tech compounds outfitted for drone
operations and housing aircraft and armored vehicles for rapid-response forays. The withdrawal from Afghanistan will similarly leave
a permanent preemption-ready presence. That presence has unprecedented reach. According to best estimates, the US preemptive
presence stretches across more than 750 bases around the world. The less focused it becomes on outright invasion, the more
spread-out and tentacular it becomes. US special operations forces are now active in no less than 75 countries around the world and
carry out an average of 70 missions a day. The number of countries "serviced" is slated to rise to 120. A key to advisor to General
Petraeus, the commander of US troops in Iraq, then Afghanistan, and now incoming CIA director, was recently quoted marvelling at

the reach of this "almost industrial scale killing machine".

Preemption doesn't go away. It spreads its

tentacles. Things change. Boots on the ground may recede as drones advance, following the rhythms of public opinion and the
electoral cycle of politicians' engrossment in domestic affairs. Nation-building might get backgrounded in favor of targeted

the operative logic of preemption only becomes more


widespread and insidious. The more it changes, the more it stays the same, ever-expanding. To the point that it can
be said to become the dominant operative logic of our times. Preemption octopuses on. Ontopower rules.
assassination campaigns. But

Biometric technologies blur the line between wartime


technology and domestic security, creating a permanent state
of emergency
Muller 10 (Benjamin J. Assistant Professor in International Relations and Political
Theory at the University of Western Ontario, Ph.D. from Queens University Belfast,
Security, Risk and the Biometric State: Governing Borders and Bodies, p. 104-109)
the use of biometrics for the management of the population is
constitutive of contemporary securitized (exceptional) politics, and while more apparent, the
We argue here that

case of Fallujah is not dissimilar to domestic homeland security initiatives and the securitization of borders and the bodies that

it speaks to an evolving global norm of securitized identity,


emphasizing the mutually constitutive relationship between domestic and foreign
policy, or at the very least destabilizing conventional notions about the separation
between these spheres, regularly reified in the discourses and disciplinary regimes/ knowledge of IR and Comparative
Politics (CP). 3 Moreover, it speaks to an attempt to exercise biopolitical technologies of
power as forms of subjugation and control/ management, which in turn constitutes
the subject under such exceptional circumstances as Agambens homo sacer. The chapter begins by
cross them. Moreover,

briefly revisiting the concept of the state of exception, and the extent to which the introduction of biometric technologies is
representative of a particular politics of exceptionalism. As the chapter title indicates, we consider these securitizing moves, namely
the introduction of biometric technologies, as underscoring constitutionalizing trends, or at the very least, the untenable
differentiation between domestic and foreign policy. In this specific case, in much the same way that modern technology has

the simultaneous use of biometric


technologies as a part of both domestic homeland security strategies and foreign
policy objectives can begin to challenge articulated limits of identity and
place. We then examine the case of Fallujah, arguably an exemplar in the wider case of American occupation practices
rendered conventional articulations of space and time anachronistic,

subsequently replicated across Iraq and Afghanistan, wherein the struggle to gain the biopolitical ascendancy of sovereign power is
asserted by occupation forces in an effort to take control of biopolitics the management of life. As a result of the destructive
violence executed by occupation forces, identity is rearticulated on the principles of biometrics and, to draw on Giorgio Agambens
work, some Iraqis are articulated as homo sacer; namely the 15 45-year-old males who were not given the option of leaving Fallujah
prior to the siege in November 2004 . In this sense, while cognizant of the disturbing story of destruction represented in Picassos
Guernica, 4 the story here is much more about the destructiveness of reconstruction, and the struggle over sovereign power in its
biopolitical form. We conclude with some reflections on the arguments presented, and their wider application in the Iraqi context.
Homo Sacer and the State of Exception Drawing on the work of Nazi constitutional theorist Carl Schmitt, but also a Hobbesian and
Weberian heritage, the revival of deliberations over the state of exception is found in contemporary work by the Italian philosopher
Giorgio Agamben. Although many of those not beholden to the triumphalism found in post-1989 commentaries turned to Schmitt,
some specific resonances were absent. In particular, one of the critical points for Agamben regarding the state of exception
becoming the norm sent many writers and thinkers scrambling. In the wake of the events of September 11, 2001 and the
subsequent introduction of anti-terrorist legislation and homeland security strategies however, this contention is much less radical .
Specific pieces of anti-terrorist legislation such as Bill C-36 in Canada, the USA PATRIOT Act, the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism
Prevention Act of 2004 (IRTPA), or even the American Homeland Security Act of 2002, involve at a bare minimum certain sunset
clauses, if not in fact subjecting the entire piece of legislation to such a clause. Of particular importance is the way in which sunset
clauses give certain impermanence to exceptional or emergency powers. While the sovereign might indeed, to borrow from
Schmitts dictum, decide the exception, it is not intended to be carte blanche power. If it were, exceptional powers would no
longer be exceptional but the norm, or what is termed the permanent state of exception. Historical powers of judicial oversight,
constitutionality, habeas corpus, and so on, have placed specific checks and balances on the power of the executive. The question

what gives the state of exception its permanence , and what are the
implications to the members of the political community in this normalized state of
exception? On the one hand, to follow Agambens lead, the state of exception arises at an
then, is

intersection between the legal and political ; a civil war, an insurrection, an armed resistance (Agamben
2005: 1). Moreover, the state of exception is the result of a political crisis, indicating that
it should be understood in political terms and not on juridical-constitutional grounds
(Agamben 2005). For Agamben, what is particularly challenging about the state of exception is
the way in which it functions in a zone of undecidability, or what he and others
have referred to as a zone of indistinction (Agamben 1998; Edkins 2002). As the sovereign is
both the law and outside the law, with subsequent power to suspend the law, there is a sort of legal
sanction to the state of exception, which is extra-juridical. Therefore, as Agamben contends, the
state of exception is awarded a certain legal status, such as the notion of the legal civil war he explores (Agamben 2005: 2 3).
Furthermore, and perhaps most important to the transformation of the state of exception becoming the norm, is the way in which

exceptional powers, or permanent states of emergency, become important technologies of


governmental control. Here, as Agamben accurately notes, the state of emergency is not always
openly declared in a technical sense, yet statutory amendments and changes that
occur in the background speak directly to the permanence of the state of exception.
5 Moreover , the suspension of conventional legislative and judicial powers and the
concentration of power in the hands of the core executive constitute the state of
exception. The ways in which this creeps into hidden statutes that lie in wait, ready
to spring forward when required, and the general way in which this state of
exception seems to have become an effective technology of rule for contemporary
governments emphasize the permanence of the state of exception . Much of this speaks
directly to Michel Foucaults point made in the collection of his lectures entitled Society Must be Defended, that modern politics is
biopolitics, in so far as sovereign power is preoccupied to a much greater extent with the management of life as a particularly
important technology of power (Foucault 2003: 239 64). As Foucault notes: Biopolitics deals with the population, with the
population as a political problem, as a problem that is at once scientific and political, as a biological problem, as powers problem
(Foucault 2003: 245). For Agamben, what is particularly important about Foucaults thesis is the way in which one understands the
sense of this transformation towards biopolitics and the management of life. Hence, Agambens dialogue about form-of-life and
the power( s) that constitutes multiple forms of life as the form -of-life . In other words, it seems impossible to isolate naked life
from the form-of-life that is political life (Agamben 2000: 3 14): Inasmuch as its inhabitants [of the camp] have been stripped of
every political status and reduced completely to naked life, the camp is also the most absolute biopolitical space that has ever been
realized a space in which power confronts nothing other than pure biological life without any mediation. (Agamben 2000: 41) In
this zone of indistinction that is the political space of the exception, homo sacer or sacred man becomes indistinguishable from the
citizen. Hence, in the same way as the zone of indistinction is exceptional extra-juridical the subjectivity of the inhabitants is
also extra-juridical, as they are deprived of rights and prerogatives to the point that committing any act towards them no longer
appears as a crime (Agamben 2000). In our analysis, if Fallujah is indeed a space/ place of exception as in broader terms we might
argue that Iraq on the whole is subject to a state of exception, as is the domestic space of the US under conditions of the war on
terror, or more specifically the border spaces and virtual borders, which further emphasizes the mutually constitutive relationship
between domestic and foreign policy then to what extent are the inhabitants homo sacer? In considering the specifics of the
Fallujah case, while not all inhabitants are articulated as homo sacer, certainly those perceived as most threatening by occupying
forces are constructed as such. Furthermore, our analysis emphasizes the extent to which the application of biometric technologies
by US-led forces is at the very least a contributing factor to this (re) articulation of Iraqis or in this case Fallujahns as homo sacer, or
indeed might be a necessary although not sufficient condition for this particular (re) articulation. Before discussing the specific case
of Fallujah, however, some brief words on biometric technologies and the specifics of contemporary applications in Iraq and
Afghanistan. Biometrics and the BAT Biometric technologies are discussed at length throughout this text, but some review is

biometrics involves the measurement of physiological


characteristics, generally in digital form. The breadth of allegedly measurable physical
characteristics appears limitless , at least according to the industry literature. The most popular biometric
applications are face recognition vis--vis digitized facial scanning, iris scans, retinal scans and digitized fingerprinting. These
conventional biometric applications reinforce notions of the body as a solid , stable
entity of which definable and quantifiable parts can be subject to measurement .
worthwhile here. Simply,

However, so called esoteric biometrics take not only the unique aspects of the body but the actual physiology, which, for lack of a
more suitable phrase, measures the bodys output. Esoteric biometrics include: facial thermography (the pattern of facial heat
caused by the distinctive blood flow under the skin); DNA; body odor (measuring rolatiles, the chemical substances that cause
odor); gait (measuring the distinctive manner of walking); and foot dynamics (considers not only the size of the foot, but dynamics,
such as pressure analysis relating to the shape of the foot, the foot geometric regarding timing of steps, and dermatoglyphics,
which uses the measurement of footprint ridges to measure friction) (Woodward et al. 2003: 115 36). The reason for offering some
examples of esoteric biometrics is not simply for its shock value, but to emphasize the vision and belief in the body as password
that permeates the biometrics industry and the literature. It also exposes the industry and its advocates long-term vision ,
indicating both a belief in the sustained need for biometric technologies, and their suitably futuristic (re) solutions of/ for these
needs. The possible applications for biometrics, it would seem, are only limited by ones imagination . Biometric technologies have
generally been employed in the private sector, such as in high security sites like financial institutions, secure nuclear or chemical

facilities, or for the security of particular products, such as the narcotics necessary for anesthesiologists. Biometric technologies are
also not strangers to the panoptic sphere of surveillance and are consistently used to track the comings and goings of employees in
large institutions. Contemporary debates over the applications of biometrics are subject to some very particular phenomena of both

The events of September 11, 2001


definitely had an impact on the biometrics industry , if only to open a policy window
for already supportive legislators. Doing much more than preaching to the converted, however, the
advocates of biometric technologies strategically presented them as the panacea to
the security problems of the post- 9/ 11 world . Caught in the paradox between
securing borders and bodies and the imperatives of the neoliberal global economy ,
states were attuned to the representation of the security problem that the
biometrics industry was so quick to articulate . Indeed, the Canada/ US Smart Border Declaration signed
the contemporary information age and the post-9/ 11 security context.

after the events of 9/ 11 is a case in point. The application of RM is championed, an embrace of particular identification technologies
is applauded, and the proliferation of programs and approaches from trusted traveler programs, to no-fly lists and passenger
prescreening lays the groundwork for the subsequent Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) and the general proliferation of
borders. The proposed applications of biometrics for the purpose of securing borders and bodies are generally for biometric or
biometric-ready passports, visas, permanent resident cards, and national identity cards. The general emphasis is for machine
readable travel documents (MRTD), allegedly contributing to increased efficiency and heightened security, thus satisfying the dual
requirements of the imperative free movement of the global economy and the post-9/ 11 supposed security imperatives. Throughout
these debates , however, the (im) possibility of securing bodies and borders generally appears to fall outside of the space of
biometrics politics. As Simon A. Cole maintains, based on its assumptions about the security of the body itself, this entire project
may in fact be misguided: Indeed, the body itself may become a rather antiquated way of defining the individual. A wide variety of
new technologies sex reassignment, cyberspace, artificial intelligence, cosmetic surgery, organ transplantation, and so on all
point toward the demise of the nineteenth century notion of the body as solid, stable entity and the advent of some new conception
of bodies as mutable and flexible We may cease to think of ourselves, or to identify ourselves, strictly as physically unique bodies
and begin to think of ourselves as somewhat more ethereal entities for whom bodies and body parts are merely resources. (Cole
2001: 310) While there are ways in which Coles contentions might challenge the introduction and claims of biometrics, the
introduction of biometrics might also be interpreted as a contributing factor to this rather fetishized account of the body. In other
words, if the body becomes password, does it cease to be the body? 6 On such questions and others, the literature, government
commissioned reports, and public forums generally fall silent. Following on from arguments made by Robert Putnam and others, Yale
Ferguson and Richard Mansbach assert that the separation between domestic and foreign policy is increasingly untenable; domestic

biometric
strategies towards the (re) articulation of the body as password and the general
securitization/ criminalization of what Agamben refers to as bare life, or even homo sacer
itself , appear mutually reinforcing in the spaces of both domestic and foreign
policy. In the domestic space, the new normal biopolitical relationship between
the citizen and the state affords sovereign power the ability to appropriate and
register the biological life of bodies (Agamben 2004).
policies influence international affairs, and vice versa (Ferguson and Mansbach 1996: 261). To this end,

Urban zones of indistinction fostered by the blur between


political and biological identity manifests itself in a police
state which disproportionality affects minorities
Jobe 14 (Kevin Scott, Doctoral Candidate in Philosophy at Stony Brook University,
Pre-emptive States of Emergency: Martial Governmentality & the Crisis of Police,
in Critical Legal Thinking, 12-11-14, http://criticallegalthinking.com/2014/12/11/preemptive-states-emergency-martial-governmentality-crisis-police/)
Commenting on the investigation into the police killing of Luis Rodriguez in Moore, OK in February 2014, an attorney for the Moore,
OK police department declared, In this country, it seems we are becoming anti-police and that the tide has turned in respecting law
enforcement.1 In the wake of the Michael Brown and Eric Garner grand jury verdicts, and the lack of any formal charges in the
cases of Luis Rodriguez and so many other victims of color of police violence just this year, it is easy to see why. In this article, I
focus on the pre-emptive state of emergency declared by the Governor of Missouri in the Michael Brown case, and link this form of
martial governmentality to the apparent crisis of police in their inability to control or suppress the revolts stemming from the

The militarization of American


policing has received much needed scrutiny in recent years by both academics and civil rights watch
groups like the ACLU. In the wake of anti-police protests from Ferguson to New York and around the globe, these
analyses could not be more timely. However with the growing unrest leading up to the
Ferguson protests which seek to shut down the normal operations of law and order.

Michael Brown grand jury verdict, the state of Missouri saw something perhaps even more startling than a
militarized police force: a pre-emptive state of emergency . As Janai Nelson from the NAACP Legal Defense
Fund reminds us, governors have used their emergency police powers preemptively in the past in anticipation of eminent natural

the preemptive state of emergency


issued in Ferguson by Governor Nixon, for example, signals the activation of a form
of governmentality which grants carte blanche to determine what actions are
required throughout the state in the name of public safety despite the lack of any
imminent threat.2 Nelson calls attention to the preemptive declaration of emergency issued during World War Two by
disasters and, more recently, in the case of potential Ebola outbreaks. But

FDR and allowed in the 1944 Koremastu v. United States case which authorized the internment of Japanese-Americans. And while
the case of Ferguson is of a different order of magnitude, it nonetheless follows the same logic. As Nelson writes, (I)t seems
premised on the fearful notion that black people gathering in Ferguson to protest perceived injustice is a state of emergency. But the

The expectation
that public protest in Ferguson might require the mobilization of state military forces
is precisely what seems to underwrite the justification of Nixons executive order. The
expectation of Americans coming together to express outrage does not justify intervention by the militia.3

rationale for the executive order is couched in the language of protecting peaceable assembly, protest and the protection of public
safety, civil rights and private business. However, the suspension of law to protect civil rights raises a disturbing prospect, one that

there is an
increasing coincidence of the discourses of policing, domestic security and
militarization in urban governance such that policing the city comes to look more
and more like the protection and organization of a military camp. Echoing Agambens
thesis on the camp as internal logic of the contemporary nomos, Graham writes, A priori incarcerations, bans, and a
creeping mass criminalization begin to puncture already precarious legal norms of
due process, habeas corpus, the right to protest, international humanitarian law and the human rights of citizenship.
Stephen Graham highlights in his recent book Cities Under Siege: the New Military Urbanism. As Graham shows,

Increasingly, the always fragile notions of homogenous national citizenship fray and disintegrate as different groups and ethnicities
are pre-emptively profiled, screened, and treated differently. The rights of citizenship are disaggregated or unbundled: Law

is

deployed to suspend law, opening the door to more or less permanent states of
exception and emergency Systems of camps, militarized borders, and systems of
illicit, invisible movement now straddle nations and supranational blocs . The resulting
transnational archipelagos of incarceration, torture and death exhibit startling similarities to those that sustain global geographies of

The enemies within, the


persons adjudged risky or worthless or out of placethe African-Americans of New
Orleans, the troublesome inhabitants of Pariss banlieues , the Roma encamped in
the suburbs of Naples or Rome, the favela dwellers on the edges of Rios tourist hot
spots, the undocumented immigrants, the beggars, the homeless, the street
vendors everywherebecome increasingly disposable, assaulted, forcibly
excluded.4 Indeed, to the extent that (L)aw is deployed to suspend law, opening the door to more or less permanent states of
tourism, finance, production, logistics, military power and the lifestyles of elites.

exception and emergency Systems of camps, [and] militarized borders, it is precisely the legal, civil and human rights that law is
supposed to protect that is suspended and replaced with the logic of camp. The suspension law in order to protect civil rights is
thus the paradigm of the logic of the exception, a disturbing situation where martial law becomes necessary for the protection of

justifying a state of emergency by claiming that such a state is the


best means to protect civil rights therefore implies the very possibility Graham raises: the
permanent state of exception or state of emergency that claims it is necessary to
protect civil rights. In Cities Under Siege: the New Military Urbanism, Graham documents the
massive global proliferation of deeply technophiliac state surveillance projects
[which] signals the startling militarization of civil societythe extension of military ideas of
tracking, identification and targeting into the quotidian spaces of everyday life.5 Situating the massive crossover
of military discourses and technologies into the governance of urban life, Graham
argues that these military-style governmentalities represent dramatic attempts
to translate long-standing military dreams of high-tech omniscience and rationality
into the governance of urban civil society. 6 For Graham, these movements to militarize
urban policing and governance, most notably after 9/11, also signal the blurring of the lines
civil rights. In this way,

between discourses of State homeland security and martial practices . Indeed for Graham,
what we are seeing is (T)he dovetailing of state domestic security and military
doctrines.7 Graham makes sense of the militarization of civil society through
Foucaults thesis about the boomerang effect of modern state governmentality ,
whereby colonial techniques of genocide, discipline and social control are
appropriated by the State and applied internally on their own populations . This is a central
thesis of the book. Thus for Graham, the militarization of civil society can be understood as the
internal application of colonial and post-colonial models of social control, developed
also in the Global South and in the War on Terror, internally upon the domestic
population. Graham outlines five key features of the new military urbanism. First, Graham notes the
expansion of the traditional language of battlespace from the field to the city, such
that everyday urban places such as subways, supermarkets, tower blocks, industrial
districts, and public spaces become reimagined as the site of urban warfare . Indeed,
(E)veryday spaces of the city are becoming the main battlespace both at home
and abroad.8 In this way, Graham states, Western security and military doctrine is being
rapidly reimagined in ways that dramatically blur the juridical and operational
separation between policing, intelligence and the military; distinctions between war
and peace; and those between local, national and global operations .9 According to Graham,
the traditional understanding of legal or human rights and legal systems based on ideas of universal citizenship is being replaced
within these new battespaces with the profiling of individuals, places, behaviors, associations, and groups.[and] assign these
subjects risk categories based on their perceived association with violence, disruption or resistance against the dominant
geographical orders sustaining global, neoliberal capitalism8 This for Graham, the profiling of individuals with regard to their risk or
dangerousness is a feature of the new military urbanism. The second feature of the new military urbanism has to do with Foucaults
Boomerang: where explicitly

colonial models of pacification, militarization and control,


honed on the streets of the global South, are spread to the cities of capitalist
heartlands in the North.11 Internal colonization as mode of social control. For Graham, the new
technologies of militarization that are being deployed by local and state government
increasingly view urban areas as if they were a sort of post- colonial military camp
which needs to be protected and walled in from outside invading forces . Indeed, for
Graham, such technologies, force people to prove their legitimacy if they want to move freely. Urban theorists and philosophers now
wonder whether the city as a key space for dissent and collective mobilization within civil society is being replacedby camps which
are linked together and withdrawn from the urban outside beyond the walls or access-control systems.12

Resolved: The United States federal government should


substantially curtail its domestic surveillance.
Rather than reading the resolution as a question of policy, we
approach it from the political --- only our affirmation of
studious play can reclaim politics from the state of exception
Morgan 7 (Benjamin, University of California, Berkeley, Undoing Legal Violence: Walter Benjamin's and
Giorgio Agamben's Aesthetics of Pure Means, Journal Of Law And Society, volume 34, Number 1, March,
www.academia.edu/1111547/Undoing_Legal_Violence_Walter_Benjamin_s_and_Giorgio_Agamben_s_Aesthetics_of_P
ure_Means
Giorgio Agamben's State of Exception paints an ominous picture .

Agamben asks whether law can


regulate its own suspension not because this is an interesting, if abstract, legal
problem, but because the state of exception has become a worldwide `paradigm of
government'. According to Agamben, a global state of exception is the only way to explain

our current state of affairs, in which: law can ... be obliterated and contradicted with
impunity by a governmental violence that, while ignoring international law externally
and producing a permanent state of exception internally , nevertheless still claims to
be applying the law. The state of exception enables this contradiction since it is neither inside nor outside
law. On the one hand, it is not a `special kind of law' since it is `a suspension of the juridical order itself'; on the
other, it is not merely the absence of law, since law contains provisions for its suspension .

This
topographical paradox means that law functions unusually within the state of
exception. The state of exception doesn't create chaos or anarchy; it sepa-rates the
law's force from its application. Law's purely formal applicability comes loose from its direct impact on
life. As a result, acts that are not authorized by any law can employ the force of legal
action: in extreme situations `force of law' floats as an indeterminate element that
can be claimed by both the state authority ... and by a revolutionary organization.
Agamben argues that this ultimately makes law and life indistinguishable: every action is
potentially a legal action. Unfortunately, however, we can't simply return to a situation
prior to the state of exception: from the real state of exception in which we live, it is
not possible to return to the state of law, for at issue now are the very concepts of
`state' and `law'. If we take Agamben's claims about the reach of the state of exception seriously, we are
left to grapple with the odd solution that Agamben suggests. This solution is what I would like to
interrogate here. Agamben argues that to get beyond the state of exception we must do
something more radical than modify the law, since the exception has revealed that
the normal functioning of law depends on violent force . As a consequence, we must
pursue `the only truly political action ... which severs the nexus between
violence and law'. But it is difficult to imagine how we might actually take this `truly political' action ,
which Agamben calls `play': One day, humanity will play with law just as children play with disused
objects, not in order to restore them to their canonical use but to free them from it for good... . [ T]his studious
play is the passage that allows us to arrive at ... justice . `Play' is a surprising answer to the
problems that Agamben has dramatically sketched: it seems simultaneously too abstract and not serious enough.
But can we take play seriously?

Play might be able to counteract the law's violent


application to life because of its lack of seriousness: play suspends both
instrumentality and normativity. In this sense, play deinstrumentalizes what
Agamben frequently calls the `machine' or `apparatus' of the state of exception.

Traditional political dissent merely strengthens the security


state --- we must instead expose and depose of the security
technologies the government employs
Agamben 14 (Giorgio Ph.D., Baruch Spinoza Chair at the European Graduate
School, Professor of Aesthetics at the University of Verona, Italy, Professor of
Philosophy at Collge International de Philosophie in Paris, and at the University of
Macerata in Italy, From the State of Control to a Praxis of Destituent Power,
transcript of lecture delivered by Agamben in Athens, 11-16-13, published on
Roarmag, 2-4-14, http://roarmag.org/2014/02/agamben-destituent-powerdemocracy/)
I would like to conclude or better to simply stop my lecture (in philosophy, like in
with something which, as far as I can see now, is
perhaps the most urgent political problem. If the state we have in front of us is
Rediscovering a Form-of-Life But

art, no conclusion is possible, you can only abandon your work)

the security state I described, we have to think anew the traditional strategies of
political conflicts. What shall we do, what strategy shall we follow? The security
paradigm implies that each form of dissent, each more or less violent attempt to
overthrow the order, becomes an opportunity to govern these actions into a
profitable direction. This is evident in the dialectics that tightly bind together
terrorism and state in an endless vicious spiral. Starting with French Revolution, the political tradition of
modernity has conceived of radical changes in the form of a revolutionary process that acts as the pouvoir constituant, the

we have to abandon this paradigm and try to


think something as a puissance destituante, a purely destituent power, that cannot be
captured in the spiral of security . It is a destituent power of this sort that Benjamin
has in mind in his essay On the Critique of Violence , when he tries to define a pure
violence which could break the false dialectics of lawmaking violence and lawpreserving violence, an example of which is Sorels proletarian general strike . On the
constituent power, of a new institutional order. I think that

breaking of this cycle, he writes at the end of the essay maintained by mythic forms of law, on the destitution of law with all the

While a
constituent power destroys law only to recreate it in a new form , destituent power
insofar as it deposes once for all the law can open a really new historical epoch. To
forces on which it depends, finally therefore on the abolition of state power, a new historical epoch is founded.

think such a purely destituent power is not an easy task. Benjamin wrote once that nothing is so anarchical as the bourgeois order.
In the same sense, Pasolini in his last movie has one of the four Sal masters saying to their slaves: true anarchy is the anarchy of

because power constitutes itself through the inclusion and the capture
of anarchy and anomy that it is so difficult to have an immediate access to these
dimensions; it is so hard to think today of something as a true anarchy or a true
anomy. I think that a praxis which would succeed in exposing clearly the anarchy
and the anomy captured in the governmental security technologies could
act as a purely destituent power. A really new political dimension becomes possible only when we grasp
and depose the anarchy and the anomy of power. But this is not only a theoretical task : it means first of
all the rediscovery of a form-of-life, the access to a new figure of that political life
whose memory the security state tries at any price to cancel .
power. It is precisely

Studying the law absent a transcedent objective renders it


inoperative and breaks its link with power and violence
Snoek 12 (Anke Ph.D. in Philosophy from Macquarie University, Agamben's Joyful
Kafka: Finding Freedom Beyond Subordination, Bloomsbury, 2012, p. 48-52)
study is an important strategy for living outside the law and making
it inoperative. In what sense can study be a strategy? Study has a long tradition in Judaism as a form of resistance. In 586
According to Agamben,

BC, Jerusalem was plundered by the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar and the temple of the Jews destroyed. Many Jews died and the
rest were taken captive and brought to Babylonia. During the Babylonian exile, when they no longer had a temple and were
forbidden to practise their faith, the Jewish people focused on the study of their holy books. After the Persian king Cyrus defeated
Babylonia and issued a decree in 537 BC that the exiled Jews could return to their homelands and rebuild their holy sanctuaries,
40,000 Jews returned to rebuild the temple. But the religion of the Jews was already marked by exile and in 70 AD the temple was
again destroyed, this time by the Romans. The temple was not rebuilt and study has since then become the true temple of the Jews.
The Jewish religion is no longer focused on worship but on study. This gave the scholar a messianic significance (IP, 63). Talmud
means study; the original meaning of Torah is not law but instruction Mishnan, the set of rabbinic laws, is derived from a root

The study Agamben is aiming at does not have a


predetermined goal: getting a degree and a good position in society , or getting
some valuable insight that can be used to overthrow a political structure. Just as the
strategy to close the door of the law was especially hard because the law does not
prescribe anything and the task of the Messiah is paradoxical because there is no
original structure of the law to restore, so study also lacks a transcendent meaning it
that has repetition as its basic meaning.

can aim at, a goal it can set. As far as etymology is concerned, the word studium is closely related to a root that indicates a
coffision, a shock or influence. Study and surprise are closely related in that sense. Whoever studies finds oneself shocked, amazed
and is, in a certain sense, stupid (cf. studium, stupefying). On the one hand, study is undergone and, on the other, undertaken.

Here Agamben sees a close affinity with Aristotles description of potentiality, which is
passive on the one hand an undergoing and active on the other an unstoppable drive to undertake
something, to do something, to engage in action. Study is the place where undergoing and
undertaking converge; it is a gesture (IP, 64). The rhythm of studying is an alternation between amazement and clarity, discovery

yields a kind of passive activity,


a radical passivity. Something happens without seeming to happen . Agamben argues
that study is pre-eminently unending. Study does not have an appropriate end
nor does it desire it. This gives the scholar a woeful air. At first glance, the students in Kafkas works seem to be of little
and loss, doing and undergoing. This combination of undergoing and undertaking

use or significance. Nevertheless, Benjamin contends that they have a major role to play: Among Kafkas creations, there is a clan
which reckons with the brevity of life in a peculiar way. The students who appear in the strangest places in Kafkas works are the
spokesmen for and leaders of this clan3 Agamben is in complete agreement with this view: [T]he latest, most exemplary
embodiment of study in our culture is not the great philosopher nor the sainted doctor. It is rather the student, such as he appears in
certain novels of Kafka or Walser. (IP, 65) It is precisely the apparent uselessness of the students and the hopelessness of study that
plays such an important role in the strategy they develop with respect to power. Kafkas useless students without Schrift So the
students operating in Kafkas stories have an important characteristic: their studies seem to be useless. In Amerika, Karl sees a
strange young man: He watched silently as the man read in his book, turned the pages and occasionally checked something in
another book that he always picked up at lightning speed, often making entries in a notebook, his face always bent surprisingly low
over it. Could this man be a student? He did seem to be studying. ... Youre studying? asked Karl. Yes, yes, said the man, using the
few moments lost to his studies to rearrange his books.3 (...) And when wifi you be finished with your studies? asked Karl. Its slow
going, said the student. ... [Y]ou can be happy about having given up your studies. I myself have been studying for years, out of
pure single-mindedness. It has given me little satisfaction and even less chance of a decent future. 32 Karl explains his problems
with Delamarche to the student. The student cannot really help him either; he does not offer Karl any insight in what he must do and
even advises him to remain with Delamarche absolutely33 Karl wonders where studying had got him [or her] he [or she] had
forgotten everything again.34 The most extreme example of a student, in Agambens view, is Melvills Bartleby, the scriber who
stopped writing. According to Benjamin, Kafkas students have also lost the Schrift. This can mean either that they have stopped
writing or that they have lost the Schrift in the sense of the Torah, the object of study. According to Scholem, the students have not
lost the Schrift or the Torah, but they can no longer decipher it (cited in HS, 51). Nonetheless, Benjamins genius is apparent,
according to Agamben, precisely in the fact that the students have lost the Schrift. Their commentaries on the Schrift, on the Law,
are notes in the margin of a blank page.35 Study does not lead to an a priori determined goal; Kafka does not attach any promises
to study that are traditionally attached to the study of the Torah. According to Agamben, the messianic tension of study is turned
around here. Or better: it has gone beyond itself. Its gesture is that of a power that does not precede but follows its action, which it
has left behind forever, of a Talmud that has not only announced the reconstruction of the temple but has already forgotten it. At
this point, study shakes off the sadness that disfigured it and returns to its truest nature: not work, but inspiration, the selfnourishment of the soul (IP, 65).36 Kafkas assistants are members of a congregation who have lost their house of prayer. His
students have forgotten how to write, have lost the Schrift. Now nothing stops them on their [u]ntrammeled, happy journey:37 The
study of the horse Bucephalus But the most enigmatic example of the student in Kafkas work may be Alexander the Greats horse
Bucephalus, who happens to become a lawyer to the surprise of his colleagues. We have a new lawyer, Dr. Bucephalus. In his
outward appearance there is little to recall the time when he was the warhorse of Alexander of Macedonia. ... I recently saw a quite
simple court usher with the knowing eye of a little racetrack regular marveffing at the lawyer as the latter, lifting his thighs high,
mounted step by step with a stride that made the marble clang. In general the bar approves the admission of Bucephalus. ...
Nowadays, as no one can deny, there is no great Alexander. To be sure, many know how to commit murder ... and many feel that
Macedonia is too narrow ... but no one, no one, can lead the way to India. Even in those days Indias gates were beyond reach, but
their direction was indicated by the royal sword. ... Today ... no one shows the way; many carry swords but only wave them in the air
and the gaze that tries to follow them grows confused. Perhaps, therefore, it is really best, as Bucephalus has done, to immerse
oneself in law books. Free, his flanks unburdened by the loins of the rider, by quiet lamplight, far from the tumult of Alexanders

that law is
set over against myth in the name of justice: instead of taking part in the mythical
(pre-law) struggle, Bucephalus devotes himself to law.39 Benjamin sees this as a serious misunderstanding of Kafkas
story. Indeed, the goal is to unmask mythical-juridical violence and human beings, like
the horse Bucephalus, must tame the mythical forces at whatever cost (SE, 63). But, according to
Benjamin, what is new about this new lawyer what is new for the legal profession , is
that he does not practice law but only studies it, reading in tranquil lamplight.
baffle, he reads and turns the pages of our old books.38 In his interpretation of this story, Werner Kraft concludes

Bucephalus is free: his flanks are no longer squeezed by Alexander the Greats thighs and he is no longer carrying the latter on his

The door to justice is not to employ law but to make it inoperative not
by practicing law (which would be a repetition of the mythical forces, given that law
is in force without significance), but by doing nothing more than studying it. The law
which is studied but no longer practiced is the gate to justice . Bucephalus strategy
against law is thus study. Agamben remarks that it is decisive that the law that is
back.

not practiced but only studied does not itself become justice but only the door to it .
The study of the law has no higher purpose that is why the law has
become inoperative.4 That which opens the passage to justice is not the
abolishment of the law but its deactivation and inactivity that is, another use of the
law (SE, 63). This is a law that is liberated from all discipline and all relation to
sovereignty. Bucephalus depicts a figure of the law that is possible after its link with
violence and power has been deposed , a law that is no longer in force and applied
(SE, 63-64), just as the study of doorkeepers by the man from the country makes it
possible to remain living outside the law. Agamben then outlines the following
picture of the future: One day humanity will play with law just as children play
with disused objects, not in order to restore them to their canonical use, but to
free them from it for good. (SE, 64)

Power separates us from our impotentiality, causing us to lose


our capacity to resist --- only impotentiality solves
Snoek 12 (Anke Ph.D. in Philosophy from Macquarie University, Agamben's Joyful
Kafka: Finding Freedom Beyond Subordination, Bloomsbury, 2012, p. 82-85)
Given the preceding sketch Agamben gives of power and possibilities (the

laws being in force without


significance, the subtle reverse found in Kafka work of this situation, Agambens praises of creatures without work), the
questions arise what ought we to do now? What form of resistance is possible for
us? How should we act? What can we do? This is actually one of the major criticisms on Agambens work that
in it, at least when read superficially, Agamben nowhere seems to forumulate any explicit answer
to the question of resistance. The Italian political philosopher Antonio Negri, also one of Agambens close friends,
points out that Agamben was never directly involved in political struggles and he sees
this as a great lack in his philosophy.2 Agambens work is often described as a radical passivity.3 This passivity
can be seen both as a strength and a weakness of his work. Agambens passivity is not a regular powerlessness, but seems to come

This passivity also shows evidence of a


radical paradigm shift in thinking about power and resistance , a movement that is often
attributed to Foucault and whose traces can be found in Kafka avant La Lettre. As is evident from the above, Agamben is
fundamentally opposed to the tendency of metaphysical politics to attribute an
identity to the human being, to allocate to him a work of his own. If the human being
has no identity of his own and no activity of his own, then this also has consequences for our
traditional view of actions as being fundamentally embedded within end-means
relationships, as goal-oriented in essence. Our views of activities and activism must
therefore be thoroughly revised in line with our revision of the possibility of a
transcendent work of man. Kafkas open singing executioners or questioners Deleuze once defined power as the act in
which the human being is cut off from its potentiality. But Agamben states, There is, nevertheless, another and more
insidious operation of power that does not immediately affect what humans can do
their potentiality but rather their impotentiality that is , what they cannot do,
or better, cannot do (N, 43). Given that flexibility is the primary quality the market requires from us, the contemporary
close to (Mahayana) Buddhism, an exercise in doing nothing.4

human, yielding to every demand by society, is cut off from his impotentiality, from his ability to do nothing. Just as we saw
previously, politics is a politics of the act, of the human individual being at work. The irresponsible motto of the contemporary
individual, No problem, I can do it comes precisely at the moment when he [one] should instead realize that he [one] has been
consigned in unheard of measure to forces and processes over which he [one] has lost all control (N, 44). This flexibility also leads
to a confusion of professions and callings, of professional identities and social roles, because people are no longer in touch with their
inability Agamben sees an example of this in Kafkas The Trial. In the last chapter, just before his death, two men enter through
Joseph Ks door. They are his questioners/executioners, but Joseph K does not recognize them as such and thinks that they are [o]ld
second-rate actors or opera singers?5 Agamben argues that, in Kafkas world, evil is presented as an inadequate reaction to

Instead of making use of our possibility of not being we fail it , we


flee from our lack of power, our fearful retreat from it in order to exercise ...
some power of being (CC, 32). But this power we try to exercise turns into a malevolent
power that oppresses the persons who show us their weakness. In Kafkas world, evil does not
impotentiality (CC, 31).

have the form of the demonic but that of being separated from our lack of power. Nothing makes us more impoverished and less
free than this estrangement from impotentiality. Those who are separated from what they can do, can, however, still resist they can

Those who are separated from their own impotentiality lose , on the other hand, first
of all the capacity to resist (N, 45) And it is evident, according to Agamben, from the example of Eichmann how right
Kafka was in this (CC, 32). Eichmann was not so much separated from his power as from his
lack of power, tempted to evil precisely by the powers of right and law (CC, 32). What should
still not do.

one do? A clash with activists At the end of 2009, Agamben gave a lecture in honour of the presentation of a collection of texts
written by the Tiqqun collective. This French collective has written several political manifestoes and in 2008 their compound was
raided by the anti-terrorist brigades. The charges were quite vague belonging to an ultra-left and the anarcho-autonomous milieu;
using a radical discourse; having links with Ibreign groups; participating regularly in political demonstrations. The evidence that was
found was not weapons, but documents, for example a train schedule. Although Agamben calls these charges a tragicomedy and
accuses French politics of barbarism6, in his lecture he emphasizes another important political value of the Tiqqun collective. This
collective embodies Foucaults idea of the non-subject. One of the latters greatest merits is that he thought of power no longer as
an attribute that a certain group had over another, but as a relation that was constantly shifting. A second merit of Foucaults

The subject itself its identity is always formed within a


power relation, a process that Foucault termed subjectivization techniques . In Foucault,
the state attempts to form the subject via disciplinary techniques and the
subject responds via subjectivization techniques: it internalizes the
expectations of the state in the formation of its own identity. That is why Foucault rejects the
idea of a subject and the idea of actorship, of attributing an act to a subject. Hence, as long as we continue to
think in terms of a subject resisting oppressive power via deliberate
action, we cannot liberate ourselves from power relations. The gesture Tiqqun
instead is making is, according to Agamben, not one of looking for a subject that can assume the
role of savior or revolutionary. Rather, they begin with investigating the force fields that
are operative in our society (instead of focusing on the subject). In describing these fields of force and the moment
they become diffuse, new possibilities can arise that are not dependent on a subject . The
discussion that followed this lecture provides a very clear picture of Agambens position. Many activists present at
the lecture asked what his theory entailed concretely with respect to the direction in
which they should go. Agambens constant reply was that anyone who poses this
question has not understood the problem at all . I always find it out of place to go and ask someone what
thinking was the idea of non-authorship.

to do, what is there to be done? ... If someone asks me what action, it shows they missed the point because they still want me to
say: go out in the streets and do this? It has nothing to do with that. (OT) Inactivity as active resistance to the state was hardly

Although the state


acknowledges the anti-law tendencies in the writings of the Ttqqun collective, the activists present at
Agambens lecture failed to recognize this specific form of resistance . What Agamben attempted to
show was that the power of the Tiqqun collective lay precisely in the fact that they did not
prescribe any concrete actiona but sought unexpected possibilities in being thus: In
that same sense, Agambens analysis of Kafkas work should not be seen as a manual for
activist freedom but as a description of small opportunities , of examples in which the power
relation is diffuse and that we must attempt to recognize, create and use. Agamben shows us
different possibilities and means for resistance, but these are not regular acts with a
goal; rather, they are means without end. As Kiahik pointed out, Agambens work is an attempt to
make means meet (not with their ends, but with each other)? One way to achieve this is
conceivable for many of the left wing activists present at Agambens lecture at Tiqqun.

through gestures. The gestures of the people in the Oklahoma theatre and elsewhere in Kafkas work, the shame of Joseph K. and
the as not in Kafkas On Parables show us that there are other strategies, aside from active resistance, to reverse political
situations.

Our playful study of the law deactivates its instrumentality,


opening it up to a new potential
Mills 8 (Catherine Associate Professor at the Centre for Human Bioethics at
Monash University, Playing with law: Agamben and Derrida on postjuridical justice,
in South Atlantic Quarterly, Volume 107, Number 1, p. 22-24,
http://saq.dukejournals.org/content/107/1/15.short)
more can now be said of the idea of playing with law as if it were
a disused object, that is, a toy. It is now possible to better appreciate the perceived
revolutionary potential of play and of the toy . As we have seen, the toy brings to light the "temporality of
To return to my starting point,

history in its pure differential and qualitative value. That is, in making present "human temporality in itself, the pure differential

the toy permits a release from continuous and


linear time and the realization of and return to history , understood as the true homeland of humanity
(IH, 104-5). In relation to law, we can now say that as a disused object the law has lost its use value in
the realm of the politico- economic and has instead been relegated to the profane
use that can be made of it by children. The characterization of its being in force without significance
margin between the once and the no longer (IH, 72),

appears to locate the law within the diachronic element of the "once . . . no longer, rather than within the synchrony of

it highlights the ritualistic dimension of law , which compensates


Play, however,
transforms synchrony into diachrony by breaking the tie between past and present .
miniaturiza-tion. This is significant because

for the disjuncture of past and present, Agamben argues, by reabsorbing diachrony into synchrony.

This production of a differential margin in the dialectic of rite and play is the condition of history; it is that which allows for the now.

As a toy and only as a toy, as an object of play, the rite of law contributes to the
revelation of the essential historicity of the human . The ritualistic dimension of law is important for
another reason as well. Agamben insists on the impossibility of the elimination of either diachronic or synchronic signification: in all
games and rites, the one remains a stumbling block for the other, thereby preventing the attainment of a pure state of diachrony or
synchrony. Thus, he writes, "at the end of the game, the toythe privileged signifier of absolute diachrony"turns around into its

playing
with law does not mean eliminating the law , for there is actually a sense in which
the law is rescued from its own obsolescence in play. Rather than being
maintained solely in a state of decay characterized by the simple lack of practicoeconomic value as law, it is given a new use. But this does not take the form of a
resacralization of the law and restoration of transcendental meaning or force .
Instead, the new use of law takes the form of its deactivation or deposition. Before saying
opposite and is presented as the synchronic residue that the game can no longer eliminate (IH, 79). This implies that

more of this, it is worth cautioning against the phrase "at the end of the game used above, for in what sense would the game in
which humanity plays with law have an end? To construe the game of playing with law as having an end would in fact push
Agambens conception of the messianic toward an identification with the eschatological, a conflation that he explicitly resists in The
Time That Remains.16 Thus, within his own characterization, it would be more accurate to insist on the endlessness of play. As with

play is interminable; it has no


end beyond pleasure. As Agamben writes in Idea of Prose, Not only can study have no rightful end, it does not even
desire one.17 In fact, it is presumably the endlessness of play that allows for the
noninstrumental appropriation of law and ultimately its deactivation in play ; that is, the
free use of law within play exceeds the constraints of instrumentality and gives
onto a justice that Agamben identifies as akin to a condition in which the world can
no longer be appropriated by law. In this way, the noninstrumentality and interminability
of play ensure a passage to a justice that is irreducible to law . As Agamben writes, The law
no longer practiced but studiedis not justice, but only the gate that leads to it.
What opens a passage toward justice is not the erasure of law, but its deactivation
and inactivitythat is, another use of law (SE, 64). One of the questions that this raises is to what extent a
the activity of study with which it is intimately related in the paragraph in question,

deposed or deactivated law remains a law. In what sense is a deposed law still a law? Agamben suggests that it is this question of
the status and meaning of law after its messianic fulfillment that motivates Benjamins reflections on Kafka, in which law no longer
has force or application (SE, 63). However, this raises more questions than it answers, and in particular, it leaves open what a
postjuridical justice arrived at through studious play might look like. We can be sure that what Agamben means by justice does not

coincide with more standard jurisprudential conceptions as the proper application of law. Despite his concern with questions of law,
though, the concept of justice has played a small part in Agambens work to date (at least if considered at an explicit textual level),
and there is little overt indication of what it would amount to beyond this discussion in State of Exception. One point at which a
(slightly) more extended consideration of justice does appear is in an early fragment in which Agamben defines justice as the
handing on of the Forgotten and the transmission of oblivion (IP, 79). At first glance, this does little to clarify the concept of
justice that he employs, but it does point toward a path of elucidation.

A politics of inoperativity neither affirms nor negates law but


simply renders it open to a new use
*anthropogenesis = the process of becoming human
Agamben 14 (Giorgio Ph.D., Baruch Spinoza Chair at the European Graduate
School, Professor of Aesthetics at the University of Verona, Italy, Professor of
Philosophy at Collge International de Philosophie in Paris, and at the University of
Macerata in Italy, What is a destituent power?, in Environment and Planning D:
Society and Space, Volume 32, p. 65-74, 2014,
http://www.envplan.com/epd/fulltext/d32/d3201tra.pdf [modified for gendered
language])
Inoperativity does not mean inertia, but names an operation that
deactivates and renders works (of economy, of religion, of language, etc) inoperative. It is a question, that
6. On the concept of inoperativity.

is, of going back to the problem that Aristotle fleetingly posed in the Nicomachean Ethics (1097b, 22 sqq), when, in the context of
the definition of the object of episteme politike, of political science, he wondered if, as for the flute player, the sculptor, the
carpenter, and every artisan there exists a proper work (ergon), there is also for man as such something like an ergon or if he is not
instead argos, without work, inoperative. Ergon of man means in this context not simply work, but that which defines energeia, the

The question concerning the work or absence of work of


man therefore has a decisive strategic importance , for on it depends not only the
possibility of assigning him [one] a proper nature and essence , but also, as we have seen,
that of defining his [ones] happiness and his politics . The problem has a wider
meaning, therefore, and involves the very possibility of identifying energeia, the being-in-act of man as man, independently
activity, the being-in-act proper to man.

and beyond the concrete social figures that he can assume. Aristotle quickly abandons the idea of an argia, of an essential
inoperativity of man. I have sought on the contrary, reprising an ancient tradition that appears in Averroes and in Dante, to

think

man [one] as the living being without work , which is to say, devoid of any specific
vocation: as a being of pure potentiality (potenza), that no identity and no work could
exhaust. This essential inoperativity of man is not to be understood as the cessation
of all activity, but as an activity that consists in making human works and
productions inoperative, opening them to a new possible use. It is necessary to
call into question the primacy that the leftist tradition has attributed to
production and labor and to ask whether an attempt to define the truly human
activity does not entail first of all a critique of these notions . The modern epoch, starting from
Christianitywhose creator God defined himself from the origin in opposition to the deus otiosus of the pagansis constitutively unable to think
inoperativity except in the negative form of the suspension of labor. Thus one of the ways in which inoperativity has been thought is the feast [la festa],
which, on the model of the Hebrew Shabbat, has been conceived essentially as a temporary suspension of productive activity, of melacha. But the feast is
defined not only by what in it is not done, but primarily by the fact that what is donewhich in itself is not unlike what one does every daybecomes
undone, is rendered inoperative, liberated and suspended from its economy, from the reasons and purposes that define it during the weekdays (and not
doing, in this sense, is only an extreme case of this suspension)/ If one eats, it is not done for the sake of being fed; if one gets dressed, it is not done for
the sake of being covered up or taking shelter from the cold; if one wakes up, it is not done for the sake of working; if one walks, it is not done for the sake
of going someplace; if one speaks, it is not done for the sake of communicating information; if one exchanges objects, it is not done for the sake of selling
or buying. There is no feast that does not involve, in some measure, a destitutive element, that does not begin, that is, first and foremost by rendering
inoperative the works of men. In the Sicilian feast of the dead described by Pitre, the dead (or an old woman named Strina, from strena, the Latin name for
the gifts exchanged during the festivities at the beginning of the year) steal goods from tailors, merchants, and bakers to then bestow them on children
(something similar to this happens in every feast that involves gifts, like Halloween, in which the dead are impersonated by children). In every carnival
feast, such as the Roman saturnalia, existing social relations are suspended or inverted: not only do slaves command their masters, but sovereignty is
placed in the hands of a mock king (saturnalicius princeps) who takes the place of the legitimate king. In this way the feast reveals itself to be above all a
deactivation of existing values and powers. There are no ancient feasts without dance, writes Lucian, but what is dance other than the liberation of the
body from its utilitarian movements, the exhibition of gestures in their pure inoperativity? And what are maskswhich play a role in various ways in the
feasts of many peoplesif not, essentially, a neutralization of the face? Only if it is considered in this perspective can the feast furnish a paradigm for
thinking inoperativity as a model of politics. An example will allow us to clarify how one must understand this inoperative operation. What is a poem, in
fact, if not an operation taking place in language that consists in rendering inoperative, in deactivating its communicative and informative function, in

order to open it to a new possible use? What the poem accomplishes for the potentiality of speaking, politics and philosophy must accomplish for the
power of acting. Rendering inoperative the biological, economic, and social operations, they show what the human body can do, opening it to a new

the fundamental ontological question today is not work but


inoperativity, and if this inoperativity can, however, be deployed only through a work, then
the corresponding political concept can no longer be that of constituent power
[potere constituente], but something that could be called destituent power [potenza
destituente]. And if revolutions and insurrections correspond to constituent power , that is, a
violence that establishes and constitutes the new law , in order to think a destituent
power we have to imagine completely other strategies , whose definition is the task
of the coming politics. A power that was only just overthrown by violence will rise
again in another form, in the incessant, inevitable dialectic between constituent
power and constituted power, violence which makes the law and violence that
preserves it. It is a matter of a concept that is only just beginning to appear in contemporary political reflection. Along
possible use. 7. If

these lines, Tronti alludes in an interview to the idea of a potere destituente without managing in any way to define it. Coming
from a tradition in which the identification of a subjectivity was the fundamental political element, he seems to link it to the twilight
of political subjectivities. For us, who begin from that twilight, and from the putting into question of the very concept of subjectivity,

It is a destitution of this type that Benjamin imagined in the


essay Critique of Violence, trying to define a form of violence that escaped this
dialectic: on the breaking of this cycle that plays out in the sphere of the mythical
form of law, on the destitution (Entsetzung) of law with all the powers on which it depends (as they depend on it),
ultimately therefore on the destitution of state violence , a new historical epoch
founds itself (Benjamin, 1977, page 202). Now what does to destitute law mean? And what is a destituent violence that is
not only constitutive? Only a power that is made inoperative and deposed is completely
neutralized. Benjamin located this destituent power in the proletarian general strike, which Sorel opposed to the simply
the problem presents itself in different terms.

political strike. While the suspension of work in the political strike is violent, because it causes (veranlasst, occasions, induces)
only an extraneous modification of working conditions, the other, as pure means, is without violence (Benjamin, 1977, page 194).
Indeed, this does not entail the resumption of work following external concessions and some modifications to working conditions,
but the decision to resume only a work completely transformed and nonimposed by the state; that is, an upheaval that this kind of
strike not so much causes (veranlasst) as realizes (vollzieht) (page 194). The difference between veranlassen, to induce, to

the opposition between constituent power,


which destroys and always recreates new forms of law , without ever completely
destituting it, and destituent power, which, in deposing law once and for all,
immediately inaugurates a new reality. It follows that the first of these operations is lawmaking but the
provoke, and vollziehn, to accomplish, to realize, expresses

second anarchic (page 194). An example of a destituent strategy that is neither destructive nor constituent is that of Paul faced with the question of
law. Paul expresses the relationship between the messiah and the law with the verb katargein, which means to render inoperative (argos), to deactivate
(Estiennes Thesaurus suggests, redo aergon et inefficacem, facio cessare ab opere suo, tollo, aboleo). Thus Paul can write that the messiah will render
inoperative (katargese) all rule (potere), all authority, and all power (potenza) (1 Corinthians 15:24) and, at the same time, that the messiah is the telos
that is the end and fulfillment of the law (Romans 10:4): inoperativity and fulfillment coincide here perfectly. In another passage, he says of the believers
that they have been rendered inoperative (katargethemen) with respect to the law (Romans 7:5-6). The customary translations of this verb with to
destroy, to abolish are not correct (the Vulgate expresses it more cautiously with evacuari), all the more so because Paul in a famous passage declares to
want to hold firm the law (nomon istanomenRomans 3:31). Luther, with an intuition whose importance must not have escaped Hegel, translates
katargein with aufheben; that is, with a verb that means as much to abolish as to conserve. In any case, it is certain that for Paul it is not a question of
destroying the law, which is holy and just, but of deactivating its action with regard to sin, because it is through the law that the people know sin and
desire: I would not have known desire, if the law had not said: do not desire: taking impulse from the commandment, sin has made operative
(kateirgasato, has activated) in me every desire (Romans 7:8). It is this operativity of the law that the messianic faith neutralizes and renders
inoperative, without thereby abolishing the law. The law held firm is a law deprived of its power of commandthat is, it is a law no longer of the
commandments and of work (nomos ton entolonEphesians 2:15; ton ergonRomans 3:27), but of faith (nomos pisteosRomans 3:27). And in its
essence, faith is not a work, but an experience of the word (faith from the hearing and hearing through the wordRomans 10:17). On the other hand,
Paul, in a decisive passage of 1 Corinthians 7, defines the Christian form of life through the formula hos me (as not): But this I say, brethren, time
contracted itself, the rest is, that even those having wives may be as not having, and those weeping as not weeping, and those rejoicing as not rejoicing,
and those buying as not possessing, and those using the world as not using it up. For passing away is the figure of this world. The as not is a destitution
without refusal. To live in the form of the as-not means to deactivate every juridical and social property, without establishing a new identity. A form-of- life
is, in this sense, that which unrelentingly deposes the social conditions in which it finds itself living, without negating them, but simply using them. If,
writes Paul, in the moment of the call you found yourself in the condition of the slave, do not worry: but if you would also be made free, use (chresai) your
condition of the slave (1 Corinthians 7:21). Use names here the deposing potentiality in the Christian form of life, which destitutes the figure of this
world (to schema tou kosmou toutou). It is this destituent potentiality that both the anarchist tradition and 20th-century thought sought to define without
ever actually succeeding. The destruction of tradition by Heidegger, the deconstruction of the arche, and the fracturing of the hegemonies by Schurmann,
and what, on the trail of Foucault, I have called philosophical archaeologythey are all pertinent, but insufficient, attempts to return to an historical a
priori in order to destitute it. But also a good part of the practice of the artistic avant-garde and of the political movements of our time can be seen as the
attemptso often miserably failedto carry out a destitution of work that has ended instead with the recreation of powers even more oppressive
inasmuch as they had been deprived of any legitimacy. The destitution of power and of its works is an arduous task, because it is first of all and only in a
form-of-life that it can be carried out. Only a form-of-life is constitutively destituent. The Latin grammarians called deponents (depositiva, or, also,
absolutive or supine) those verbs that, similar in this regard to the middle voice verbs, cannot properly be called active or passive: sedeo, sudo, dormio,
iaceo, algeo, sitio, esurio, gaudeo. What do the middle or deponent verbs depose? They do not express an operation, rather they depose it, neutralize
and render it inoperative, and, in this way, expose it. The subject is not merely, in the words of Benveniste, internal to the process, but, having deposed its

action, it is exposed and put in question together with it. In this sense, these verbs can offer the paradigm to think in a new way not only action and

Benjamin once wrote that there is nothing more anarchic


than the bourgeois order. In the same sense, Pasolini makes one of the gerarchi in Salo say that the true
anarchy is that of power. If this is true, one understands then why the thought that tries to think
anarchy remains trapped in aporia and contradictions without end . Since power (arche)
constitutes itself through the inclusive exclusion (the ex-ceptio) of anarchy, the only possibility
of thinking a true anarchy coincides with the exhibition of the anarchy internal to
power. Anarchy is that which becomes possible only in the moment that we grasp
and destitute the anarchy of power. The same goes for every attempt to think anomy: it becomes accessible
praxis, but also the theory of the subject. 8.

only through the exhibition and the deposition of the anomy that law has captured within itself in the state of exception. This is true
as well for the thought that seeks to conceive the a-demy, the absence of a demos or people that defines democracy (here I use
the term ademy because a people that must be represented is by definition absent). Only the exhibition of the ademy internal to
democracy allows us to depose the fiction of a people that it pretends to represent. In all of these cases, constitution coincides
without remainder with destitution; positing has no other consistency than in deposing. Defining the dispositif of the exception as a

Since power functions through the inclusive


exclusion of anarchy, of anomie, of inoperativity, etc, it is not possible to access these
dimensions directly: it is necessary first to exhibit the form in which they are
captured in power. Something is excepted in the state and , in this way, politicized: but,
for that to happen, it is necessary that it be reduced to the state of nudity (bare life,
anarchy as war of all against all, anomy as being-in-force [vigenza] without application, ademy as formless multitude). We
know of life only bare life (seeing that the medicalization of life is an integral part of the political dispositif), of
anarchy we understand only the war of all against all , of anomy we see only chaos
and the state of exception, etc. Hence the importance of research such as that of Illich, of Clastres, and of Sigrist, showing that
structure of the arche yields an important consequence.

there are vernacular figures of anomic communities that have a completely different character. When one wants to recover life, anarchy, anomy, and
ademy in their truth, it is necessary therefore first to release oneself from the form that they have received in the exception. This is not, however, only a
theoretical task: it can occur only through a form-of- life. By the term form-of-life, we mean a life that can never be separated from its form, a life in which
it is never possible to isolate something like a bare life. A life that cannot be separated from its form is a life for which, in its way of living, what is at stake
is living itself, and, in its living, what is at stake above all else is its mode of living. What is at stake, then, is a life in which the single ways, acts, and
processes of living are never simply facts, but always and above all possibilities of life, always and above all potentiality [potenza]. Tiqqun has developed
this definition in three theses, stating that, (1) The human unity is not the body or the individual, but the form-of-life, that (2) each body is affected by its

it is
necessary to replace the ontology of substance with an ontology of how , an
ontology of modality. The decisive problem is no longer what I am , but how I
am what I am. It is necessary, in this sense, to radicalize the Spinozan thesis according to
which there is only being (substance) and its modes or modifications. Substance is not
something that precedes the modes and exists independently from them . Being is
not other than its modes, substance is only its modifications, its own how (its own
quomodo). Modal ontology makes it possible to go beyond the ontological difference
that has dominated the Western conception of being . Between being and modes the
relation is neither of identity nor of difference because the mode is at once identical
and differentor, rather, it implies the coincidencethat is, the falling together [cadere insieme]of the two terms. In this
form- of-life as by a clinamen, an attraction, a taste, and that (3) my form-of-life relates not to what I am, but to how I am what I amP] Here

sense, the problem of the pantheist risk is badly put: the Spinozist syntagma Deus sive (or) natura does not mean God = nature:
the sive (whether sive derives from the conditional and concessive si or the anaphoric sic) expresses the modalization, that is, the
neutralizing and the failure as much of identity as of difference. What is divine is not being in itself, but its own sive, its own always

Modal ontology means rethinking from the


start the problem of the relation between potentiality and act . The modification of
being is not an operation in which something passes from potentiality to act , and
realizes and exhausts itself in this. What deactivates operativity in a form-of-life is
an experience of potentiality or habit, it is the habitual use of a potentiality that
manifests itself as power of not [Aristotle calls it adynamia, impotentiality, formulating the axiom according
already modifying and naturingbeing bornin the modes.

to which all potentiality is, on the basis of the same and with respect to the same, impotentiality (Met.1046, pages 30-31)]. The
destitution of the being-in-work of the work (of its energeia) cannot be carried out by another work, but only by a potentiality that
remains as such and shows itself as such. Aristotle (De Anima 429b, pages 9-10) wrote that thought, when it thinks in act each of
the intelligibles, remains in some way in potentiality and is thus able to think itself.

It is only this irreducible

remainder of potentiality that makes the destitution of work possible . To destitute


work means in this sense to return it to the potentiality from which it originates , to
exhibit in it the impotentiality that reigns and endures there . All living beings are in a form of life,
but not all are (or are not always) a form-of-life. In the moment that the form-of-life constitutes itself, it deactivates and renders
inoperative not only all the individual forms of life, but first of all the dispositif that separates bare life from life. It is only in living a
life that a form-of-life can constitute itself as the inoperativity immanent in every life. The constitution of a form-of-life coincides,
that is, completely with the destitution of the social and biological conditions into which it finds itself thrown. The form-of-life is, in
this sense, the revocation of all factical vocations, which deposes and puts in tension from within the same gesture by which it is

It is not a question of thinking a better or more authentic form


of life, a superior principle or an elsewhere , which arrives from outside the forms of
life and the factical vocations to revoke and render them inoperative . Inoperativity is
not another work that appears to works from out of nowhere to deactivate and
depose them: it coincides completely and constitutively with their destitution , with
living a life. And this destitution is the coming politics . One understands, then, the
essential function that the tradition of Western philosophy has assigned to the
contemplative life (to theoria) and to inoperativity: praxis, the properly human life is that
which, rendering inoperative the specific works and functions of the living, makes
them, so to speak, spin idle [girare a vuoto], and, in this way, opens them to possibility.
Contemplation and inoperativity are, in this sense, the metaphysical operators of
anthropogenesis, which, freeing the living being from every biological or social
destiny and from every predetermined task , renders it open for that particular
absence of work that we are accustomed to calling politics and art. Politics and art are neither
maintained and dwells in them.

tasks nor simply works: they name, rather, the dimension in which the linguistic and corporeal, material and immaterial, biological
and social operations are made inoperative and contemplated as such.

2ac case

2ac overview
Our role of the ballot is who best affirms an ethics beyond
sovereign violence
Agamben 2k (Giorgio Ph.D., Baruch Spinoza Chair at the European Graduate
School, Professor of Aesthetics at the University of Verona, Italy, Professor of
Philosophy at Collge International de Philosophie in Paris, and at the University of
Macerata in Italy, Means Without End: Notes on Politics, p. 93-95)
Exposition is the location of politics. If there is no animal politics, that is perhaps because animals are always
already in the open and do not try to take possession of their own exposition; they simply live in it without caring about it. That is

Human beings, on the other hand, separate images


from things and give them a name precisely because they want to recognize
themselves, that is, they want to take possession of their own very appearance. Human beings thus
transform the open into a world, that is, into the battlefield of a political struggle
without quarter. This struggle, whose object is truth, goes by the name of History. It is happening more and more often that
why they are not interested in mirrors, in the image as image.

in pornographic photographs the portrayed subjects, by a calculated stratagem, look into the camera, thereby exhibiting the
awareness of being exposed to the gaze. This unexpected gesture violently belies the fiction that is implicit in the consumption of
such images, according to which the one who looks surprises the actors while remaining unseen by them: the latter, rather,
knowingly challenge the voyeurs gaze and force him to look them in the eyes. In that precise moment, the insubstantial nature of
the human face suddenly comes to light. The fact that the actors look into the camera means that they show that they are
simulating; nevertheless, they paradoxically appear more real precisely to the extent to which they exhibit this falsification. The
same procedure is used today in advertising: the image appears more convincing if it shows openly its own artifice. In both cases,
the one who looks is confronted with something that concerns unequivocally the essence of the face, the very structure of truth. We
may call tragicomedy of appearance the fact that the face uncovers only and precisely inasmuch as it hides, and hides to the extent
to which it uncovers. In this way, the appearance that ought to have manifested human beings becomes for them instead a
resemblance that betrays them and in which they can no longer recognize themselves. Precisely because the face is solely the
location of truth, it is also and immediately the location of simulation and of an irreducible impropriety. This does not mean,
however, that appearance dissimulates what it uncovers by making it look like what in reality it is not: rather, what human beings

Because human beings


neither are nor have to be any essence , any nature, or any specific destiny, their
condition is the most empty and the most insubstantial of all : it is the truth. What remains
truly are is nothing other than this dissimulation and this disquietude within the appearance.

hidden from them is not something behind appearance, but rather appearing itself, that is, their being nothing other than a face.

The task of politics is to return appearance itself to appearance , to cause


appearance itself to appear. The face, truth, and exposition are today the objects of a
global civil war, whose battlefield is social life in its entirety, whose storm troopers
are the media, whose victims are all the peoples of the Earth. Politicians, the media establishment,
and the advertising industry have understood the insubstantial character of the face and of the community it opens up, and thus

State power today is no


longer founded on the monopoly of the legitimate use of violence a monopoly
that states share increasingly willingly with other nonsovereign organizations such as
the United Nations and terrorist organizations; rather, it is founded above all on the control of
appearance (of doxa). The fact that politics constitutes itself as an autonomous sphere
goes hand in hand with the separation of the face in the world of spectacle a
world in which human communication is being separated from itself. Exposition thus
transforms itself into a value that is accumulated in images and in the media, while
a new class of bureaucrats jealously watches over its management.
they transform it into a miserable secret that they must make sure to control at all costs.

Only studious play can deactivate the laws coupling with


violence and re-engage politics
Morgan 7 (Benjamin, University of California, Berkeley, Undoing Legal Violence: Walter Benjamin's and
Giorgio Agamben's Aesthetics of Pure Means, Journal Of Law And Society, volume 34, Number 1, March,

www.academia.edu/1111547/Undoing_Legal_Violence_Walter_Benjamin_s_and_Giorgio_Agamben_s_Aesthetics_of_P
ure_Means
This philosophical effort to describe non instrumental means is the basis for Agamben's political response to our `global state of

A theory of pure means can counteract a central problem of the state of


exception: its exacerbation of the `nexus between violence and law' . Benjamin, as we have
exception'.

seen, views law as inherently violent in both its creation and preserva-tion in so far as it is conceived as instrumental. Agamben
argues that the state of exception extends this legal violence beyond its own boundaries by making it possible for extra-legal actions

Tracing the legal history of the term `force of law' (the title Derrida gave to an
Agamben describes those actions that, though not
legally authorized, nonetheless draw upon the violence that guarantees law's
dictates: `decrees, provisions, and measures that are not formally laws nevertheless acquire their ``force''.' What is peculiar,
and dangerous, about the state of exception is that its suspension of legal norms allows any action to
potentially acquire legal force. As such, in suspending the law, the state of
exception does not also suspend the violence that creates and maintains law, but
rather makes it available for appropriation by revolu-tionary groups, dictators, the police, and so forth: `It is
to acquire legal status.

essay in which he analyses `Critique of Violence'),

as if the suspension of law freed a force ... that both the ruling power and its adversaries, the constituted power as well as the

Agamben terms this potential coincidence of every human


action and legal force the inseparability of law and life . Given that suspending law
only increases its violent activity, Agamben proposes that `deactivating' law, rather
erasing it, is the only way to undermine its unleashed force . It is in this context that
Agamben offers the apparently strange solution of `play' with which I began: One day humanity will
constituent power, seek to appropriate.'

play with law just as children play with disused objects, not in order to restore them to their canonical use but to free them from it

What is found after the law is not a more proper and original use value that
precedes the law, but a new use that is born only after it. And use, which has been
contaminated by law, must also be freed from its own value. This liberation is the
task of study, or of play. In proposing this playful relation Agamben makes the move
that Benjamin avoids: explicitly describing what would remain after the violent destruction
of normativity itself. `Play' names the unknowable end of `divine violence'. Agamben himself may not be entirely
for good.

comfortable with this moment; in the final paragraph of State of Exception, he replaces this prediction with a question and a

only beginning from the space thus opened [that is, by law's deposition] will
it be possible to pose the question of a possible use of law after the deactivation of
the device that, in the state of exception, tied it to life . Playfulness disappears completely in The Time
possibility:

That Remains, where Christian love instead designates our relation to the fulfilled law: `once he divides the law into a law of works
and a law of faith ... and thus renders it inoperative and unobservable ... Paul can then fulfil and recapitulate the law in the figure of

this idea of play is instructive because of its resonance


with Agamben's own articulations of aesthetic experience . In an essay arguing that play derives
from ritual, Agamben claims that` everything pertaining to play once pertained to the realm of the sacred'. Play is the
participation in a ritual whose meaning has been forgotten: it converts sacred
objects into mere toys. This is what gives it its (literally)revolutionary force: Agamben
notes that play `overturns' the sacred `to the point where it can plausibly be defined as ``topsy-turvy sacred''.' This
mediation between the sacred and the secular is the function that Agamben would
like play to perform on the law: overturning it without destroying it. Play would do
this by retaining law's form while forgetting its meaning ; Agamben writes that `Playland is a country
love.' Despite Agamben's apparent hesitation,

whose inhabitants are busy celebrating rituals, and manipulating objects and sacred words, whose sense and purpose they have,

This ritual with a forgotten purpose articulates a means without end in


so far as the end has become unknowable through its forgetting . This account also amounts to
however forgotten.'

a transposition of Benjamin's often-cited account of the relation between the sacred and the profane in `The Work of Art in the Age
of its Technological Reproductibility': the unique value of the ` authentic' work of art always has its basis in ritual .This ritualistic
basis, however mediated it may be, is still recognizable as secularized ritual in even the most profane forms of the cult of beauty.
Agamben's toy is thus not opposed to, but the counterpart of Benjamin's `authentic' work of art. Furthermore, Agamben's claim that
law that has opened itself to play `no longer has force or application' depends upon the logic that, for Agamben, characterizes
Kantian aesthetics.

This negative definition of the figure of law as law minus force and

application removes law's functionality and normativity while maintaining that


something called law still exists. Defin-ing `pure law' as what it is not repeats a rhetorical move for which
Agamben criticizes Kant, namely that in the third critique, `judgment identifies the determinations of beauty only in a purely
negative fashion' and con-sequently `our appreciation of art begins necessarily with the forgetting of art'. Agamben thus glosses
Kant's fourth definition of the beautiful (that` which is cognized without a concept as the object of a necessary satisfaction' ) to
emphasize its constitutive negativity: the beautiful, he says, is `normality without a norm'. In State of Exception, it may not be
problematic that our appreciation of law would begin with the forgetting of law; indeed this forgetting may be the difficult work that
the book proposes. But it is not only the negative structure of the argument but also the kind of negativity that is continuous
between Agamben's analyses of aesthetic and legal judgement. In other words, `normality

without a norm', which


paradoxically articulates the subtraction of normativity from the normal, is simply
another way of saying `law without force or application'. To the degree that this is true, Kantian
aesthetic judgement hasn't disappeared in our experience of pure mediality; in fact, its name has barely changed. But perhaps most
interesting is the similarity between Agamben's description of the disused law and a much less famous passage in Kant's third
critique. In a footnote to his definition of the beautiful as `an object's form of purposiveness insofar as it is perceived in the object
without the presentation of a purpose Kant describes an object much like Agamben's disused law. Anticipating a possible quarrel
with his explication, Kant imagines someone who would point out that there are all sorts of objects whose use we don't know, but
which still aren't considered beautiful: It might be adduced as a counterexample to this definition that there are things in which one
can see a purposive form without cognizing an end in them, e.g., the stone utensils often excavated from ancient burial mounds,
which are equipped with a hole, as if for a handle, which, although they clearly betray by their shape a purposiveness the end of
which one does not know, are nevertheless not declared to be beautiful on that account. These stone utensils whose ends are
unknown and unknowable give us an idea of what the law would look like to the humanity that Agamben hopes will play with it.
Where Agamben imagines a future in which the law will still exist but will have lost its purpose, Kant describes a present in which we
discover instrumental objects whose purpose is unknown. These objects offer us yet another figure of `means without end': things
which `betray by their shape a purposiveness', but whose end has been erased by historical time. Kant argues that these objects are
not actually susceptible to aesthetic reflection on the grounds that the counter-argument assumes. But they are significant because
their obscured ends allow them to raise a question about their status as aesthetic objects. This is the precise question raised by
Agamben's figure of a law to be played with after its use value has been superseded. To say, however, that Agamben's theory of a
deactivated law returns to a theory of aesthetic judgement is not to say that Agamben aestheticizes law at least in the sense of
this term that makes it an accusation. In The Time That Remains , Agamben argues that a certain way of thinking about messianism
runs the risk of aestheticization: reducing `ethics and religion to acting as if God, the kingdom, truth, and so on existed' amounts to
`an aestheticization of the messianic in the form of the as if '. But I am not suggesting that the infiltration of aesthetic experience
into Agamben's messianic law amounts to a substitution of fictional for real redemption. It is not some fictionality in our relation to
the deposed law that renders our experience of it aesthetic but, rather, its suspension of the relation between means and ends. As
such, Agamben's argument against the aestheticization of the messianic that `the messianic is the simultaneous abolition and
realization of the as if ' does not address the aesthetic trace that remains in the messianic law as formulated in State of
Exception . This trace, I think, may testify more to the productive political possibilities of Kantian aesthetic judgement itself than to
some falsity of Agamben's solution. Even so, this still amounts to a reading of Agamben against Agamben's own intention.

Agamben ends State of Exception by suggesting that our experience of


the law as a pure means is capable of reclaiming the political space that
he believes has been eclipsed: a space between [life and law] for human
action, which once claimed for itself the name of `politics'... . To a word that
does not bind, that neither commands nor prohibits anything, but says only itself
would correspond an action as pure means, which shows only itself without any
relation to an end. If it is as difficult to separate the figure of pure means from aesthetic purposiveness as Benjamin's and
Agamben's own writings suggest, then one can easily see the beauty inherent in `action as pure means, which shows only itself'.
This leaves us with a different answer to the question with which Agamben opens his book `What does it mean to act politically?'

To enlist the figure of


pure means in a call for the return of an authentic politics is to partially ground the
political on that moment in aesthetic judgement when we appreciate something not
because it is useful or because it fits with our conceptual understanding of the
world, but simply because we have a relation to it, independent of its purpose.
than Agamben gives. We might say that what it means to act politically is to act aesthetically.

2ac at: DAs


Biometrics have no positive effect on CT and increase the risk
of a cascading system-wide failure
*4pt font for long passages with no relevance
ONeil 5 (Patrick H. Professor of Politics and Government at the University of
Puget Sound, Complexity and Counterterrorism: Thinking about Biometrics, in
Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, Volume 28, Issue 6, 2005,
http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10576100591008962#abstract)
It is not the objective of this article to discuss the civil liberties implications of biometrics, although it is clearly an important issue

this article will consider the actual efficacy of biometrics in


deterring terrorist activitya consideration that is often lost in the rush to implement new counterterrorist tactics.
This article argues that complex counterterrorist responses like biometrics are not only
ineffective, but in fact create the opportunity for future terrorist strikes. Rather
than making the system more secure, this new layer of complexity will in fact construct new
possibilities to weaponize the complex systems of modern societies .
that deserves attention. Instead,

This creates a puzzle. If biometrics are of

limited value, and may in fact create less safety, why have they become such a prominent element in national security? The article will proceed in several steps. First, it will consider the relationship between terrorism and complex
systems, turning to the work of organization theorists and the way in which they think about high and low risk technologies. Second, the article will consider biometrics as a response to these threats, both in theory and in its practical
application. Third, it will ask why biometrics has become such a prominent counterterrorist response, turning to organization theory and risk theory for possible answers. Finally, the article will conclude with a consideration of
alternatives to biometric control. In short: Will biometrics make people safer? If not, why is it being pursued? Are there any other alternatives? This is a world of complex organizations. In the modern industrialized world, the majority
of regular human tasks are made possible through an array of complex activities, routines, and patterns as part of a sophisticated political, economic, and social system. This process is not new; Max Weber was one of the first to note
the rationalization of the modern order nearly a century ago.2 However, this rationalization has rapidly expanded in the last half-century through such technological innovations as computerization and the networking of information.
As they have expanded, these complex organizations have become institutionalized. By institutionalized, the author means that these organizations are now valued as an irreplaceable part of society, to these extent that their
objective costs and benefits cannot be easily measured. Individually or collectively, for good or ill, modern life is imagined to be impossible without them.3 Complex organizations are the hallmark of modernity and thoughts of the
notion of progress. But this complexity has its own limitations and dangers. In some cases these are problems that are all too familiarthe growth of bureaucracy that stifles change, organizational politics that divert actors from their
original goals, or the emergence of groupthink among the leadership, shutting out alternative scenarios and critical analysis.4 Each of these may have the ability to limit an organization's range of action and its ability to adapt and
change in response to new opportunities and challenges. When carried to an extreme level, such limitations within complex organizations may lead to their inability to complete their core tasks. In other words, organizations may fail.
Among the various scholars who have focused on organizational failure, most notable is the work of sociologist Charles Perrow.5 Perrow has sought to understand how organizations differ in their core tasks and procedures, and how
this affects their ability to function flexibly and recover from crisis. For Perrow, organizations can be viewed along two axes. The first axis distinguishes organizations between linear and complex. Linear organizations are notable in
that their various components are segregated from one another and easily isolated if necessary. For individuals working within linear organizations, these various components or procedures are also widely understood, and different
components or routines may also be substituted for one another as needed. These are systems, as we understand the term, in the loosest sense. In contrast, in a complex organization each element is a highly specialized part of
an interconnected system. These components are not widely understood across the organization as a whole. But this is not the only element important in distinguishing organizations. In addition to linear and complex, Perrow also
distinguishes between loosely and tightly coupled organizations. Loosely coupled organizations are highly buffered or attenuated; in other words, there is a degree of slack, distance, and delay between one component within the
organization and others. Tightly coupled organizations, on the other hand, have components that are much more interdependent, relying directly on each other for their continued function. Here, as Perrow notes, what happens in
one directly affects what happens in another.6 It might be initially imagined that these two axes run parallel to one another, such that linear organizations are loosely coupled whereas complex organizations are tighter. But Perrow
notes that one can find different combinations of these two variables across organizations (see Figure 1). Figure 1. Interaction/coupling chart. (Adapted from Charles Perrow, Normal Accidents: Living with High Risk Technologies [New
York: Basic Books, 1984]) PowerPoint slideOriginal jpg (7.00KB)Display full size First, there are loosely coupled linear organizations. Here Perrow gives the example of a post office, with its relatively discrete components and loose
connections to the postal system as a whole. A personnel or technical problem need not close a post office, nor will it bring the system as a whole to a halt. Second, there are tightly coupled linear organizations, such as dams and (to
a lesser extent) power grids. There may be little buffering, such that a failure in one area may have a direct effect elsewhere. Still, their linear organization means that components are widely understood and can be substi-tuted if
necessary. Third, there are loosely coupled complex organizations. Extensive specialization and interconnection are found, but there is also buffering or slack between components. Universities are a good example: a problem in one
department or with a faculty member, although not easily resolved, does not automatically or necessarily jeopardize other faculty, departments, or programs. Finally, there are tightly coupled complex organizations. Nuclear power,
chemical plants, genetic engineering, and spaceflight are all relevant examplessystems that are highly specialized, interconnected, interdependent, and where operators only understand a small piece of the larger system. For
Perrow, the zone of tightly coupled complex organizations is the area of highest risk. Difficult technological processes require tight coupling and complex organizations in order to operate within highly inflexible margins of safety.
But these demands are difficult to satisfy. This is not because of operator error, or improper training or insufficient technology, as is often thought. Rather, under such systems the interplay of interconnectedness, interdependency,
specialization, and the limits of knowledge create conditions such that minor failures, errors, or accidents cannot be easily identified and remedied. Such organizations are prone to catastrophic failure because of their sheer opacity
and inflexibility. Unexpected errors and mistakes can combine in unpredictable ways. Each one alone may be unimportant or manageable, but in combination can have a synergistic effect and be difficult for operators to understand
and remedy. The cascading effect of these small errors can result in a massive system failure, what Perrow calls normal accidents. How does Perrow's model help with understanding modern terrorist tactics? On the surface, it is
evident that complex, tightly coupled organizations represent a tempting target for terrorist groups. Given their opacity and inflexibility, attacks on such systems are more likely to lead to catastrophic failure. Such organizations have
only a limited capacity to respond to failure that is endogenous to the system; adding an exogenous variable, like a bomb, may be far outside of the organization's already circumscribed battery of standard responses. In other words,

terrorists can in fact seek to induce failure , relying on the


assumption that complex organizations are not robust enough to recover. This attempt to
whereas Perrow speaks of organizations failing,

induce failure has been described by Thomas Homer-Dixon as complex terrorism, quite different from traditional attacks against
linear and loosely coupled targets. Under these conditions, terrorists

and other malicious individuals can


magnify their own disruptive power by exploiting these features of complex and
interconnected networks.7 But it is not only that in a world of complex organizations
terrorists have more, and more vulnerable, targets from which to choose. Upon closer
consideration, it is realized that terrorism adds a new component to Perrow's discussion of organizational failure and normal

Because terrorists seek to provoke failure, they are able to transform the very
degree of complexity and coupling found within existing organizations. Perrow anticipates
accidents.

this in his discussion of dams: Some dams have considerable catastrophic potential, but while they are tightly coupled, so that
recovery from failure is extremely limited, they are not subject to unexpected interactions. Preventing accidents then is largely a
matter of preventing component failure including proper design and construction. There is, however, a possibility of system
accidents in the sense that unexpectedly a dam may become part of a larger system.8 What does Perrow mean when he says that
dams may become part of a larger system? Specifically, he is referring to the physical environment and the possibility that
earthquakes or landslides might occur. Such linkage to geography and geology means that dams may be more complex, depending

Because organizations are located in


a complex web of other systems, there is the potential that existing organizations
may become more complex or tightly coupled than is normally the case . In this light the attacks
on how they have been sited. This point is central to our understanding.

against the World Trade Center can be better understood. Perrow does not place buildings in his matrix, but let it be assumed that they are akin to dams: tightly coupled linear systems.
There is less specialization and greater understanding of the various components involved in its construction, but limited slack or buffering between these elements, such that a failure of
one component can cascade throughout the system and cause structural failure. The system can suffer catastrophic failure, but as Perrow notes in the case of dams, these can and have
been limited over time through proper design and construction.9 Unexpected and unanticipated interactions of various components are thus relatively rare, and even attempts to

provoke failures within the system itself turns out to be difficult. This was evident in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. In that case, engineers had constructed the building's
foundation to deal with the complex topography of the area and attendant earthquake risks that could undermine its stability, effectively limiting the impact of the truck bomb. Compare
the 1993 attack with that in 2001. Terrorists gained control over complex, tightly coupled technologies (aircraft) that could themselves be easily failed by overtaking the controls and
turning them into missiles. By weaponizing these planes, the terrorists intentionally created the conditions whereby, as Perrow puts it, systems not thought to be linked suddenly
are.10 Filled with fuel, the aircraft collisions subjected the World Trade Center to temperatures and structural damage that the engineers of the building did not anticipate, limiting any
effective response in terms of flexibility or slack. The result was a catastrophic failure, intentionally provoked from without. Since 11 September there has been increasing attention given
to the possibility of similar kinds of attacks against other complex systems, such as the power grid, chemical plants, or international shipping.11 In short, this kind of organizational
synergy creates a myriad of dangerous possibilities, because systems not typically thought of as high risk can be made so by the attackers themselves. It is the means of attack that sets
the parameters for catastrophe. For example, even an organization like a post office, which Perrow cites as a loosely coupled linear organization, is prone to such coupling and
complexity. The 2001 anthrax attacks in the United States subverted any linearity and loose coupling in the system, as the anthrax spores crossed through the system and the mail,
subverting buffers and preventing easy isolation.12 Such dangers are only likely to increase. With the ongoing move toward virtual complexity, more and more technologies are being
linked up as part of a larger networked system in order to increase efficiency, output and data transparency. Linear and loosely coupled technologies become more complex and tightly
coupled as they come to depend on a larger network for information and control. This raises the danger of cyberterrorism, whereby such attacks can cripple the normal operations of a
vast range of organizations.13 The implications of this argument are wide-ranging. The very nature of modernity is organization and complexity, tendencies that have only increased
exponentially over time. These organizations make for attractive targets, as terrorists have the ability to combine systems in unpredictable and dangerous ways. This is perhaps even
more disturbing than the long-standing concern over existing risky systems such as nuclear power stations, because the danger of catastrophic failure is well known and continuously
evaluated. Loosely coupled and/or linear organizations, widespread throughout society, can also be attacked, combined, and made to fail in complex ways with repercussions difficult to
anticipate. The failure of a single high-risk organization is one concern. But how can all the ways in which even low-risk organizations may be combined to catastrophic effect be
anticipated? Biometrics as a Counterterrorist Response: Promises and Problems Jump to section Complex Organizations and Complex Failure Biometrics as a Counterterrorist... Rush to

Organizational theorists like Perrow conclude that it is


difficult to eliminate the internal dangers of catastrophic failure in complex systems .
Such dangers can be reduced, but the more complex and tightly coupled the system ,
the greater the chances of accident.
Failure? Explaining the Appeal... Counterterrorism and Decentralization

Add to this observation the notion of volition, that actors might intentionally try to provoke failure, and it is easy to assume that it is

hopeless to try and make these systems self-correcting in the face of a terrorist attack. If that is the case, counterterrorism must instead address the issue of securing access to organizations and technology, in order to limit the
chance that organizational failure could be induced by actors with malicious intent. How is it decided who can gain access and what they are allowed to do? There are, in fact, three separate elements that must be addressed:
identification, verification, and authorization. In these three areas, security policy must be able to distinguish individuals from one another (identification), verify that they are who they claim to be (verification), and from these allow
for varying degrees of access and power (authorization).14 This can be accomplished in a number of different ways, such as badges, tokens, or passwords. Another approach can be through biometrics. Biometrics can be defined as
the automatic recognition of a person using distinguishing traits.15 If access can be regulated by something you have, such as a security badge, or something you know, such as a password, then biometrics essentially controls
access by means of something you area measurable, distinct trait or characteristic. There are numerous biometrics, some which have been in place for a long time. For example, the personal recognition of others is a biometric,
identifying, verifying, and authorizing people as familiar or unfamiliar, friend or foe. Such a system is highly personalized, however, and with modern industrial societies biometrics have been increasingly embedded in technological
innovations that allow for independent and objective criteria whose confirmation is thus not reliant on any one individual. Over the past century this migration to objective biometric criteria has been found in the use of handwritten
signatures (and their analysis) as well as fingerprints. In recent years a number of new biometric technologies have been under development to increase the range of recognition. These include iris and retinal scans, facial and voice
recognition, and hand geometry, to name a few. Advocates of biometrics as a means to control access cite a number of advantages. First, they note that tokens and passwords are not particularly secure systems. Cards or badges
may be forged, and passwords stolen. As a result, these forms of security are easily transferred from one individual to another. In contrast, it is argued, biometrics are highly secure systems, as they rely on a individual trait or quality
that cannot be stolen in the way a password or badge can. In addition, biometric identifiers are convenient for the user, not subject to being lost or forgotten. Biometrics can be applied in a number of different ways, depending on
whether the objective is identification, verification, authorization, or some combination of the three. In the area of identification, biometrics has been touted as a way to seek out individuals who are wanted by law enforcement, such
as those suspected of involvement in terrorist organizations. One commonly cited example is closed-circuit television cameras (CCTV), already a common feature in high-crime or high-risk areas, combined with facial recognition
technology. Under this system, facial recognition software scans individuals in a given area, matching faces with an existing watchlist of suspected individuals. Such a system can be utilized across a wide area, eliminating the need
to manually screen each and every person entering a security zone. In the United States, such systems have already been implemented in limited forms in Florida and Virginia, most notably during the 2001 Super Bowl. It is also the
cornerstone of new regulations concerning travel into the United States. The US-VISIT program, begun in 2004, requires that most foreign visitors have their index fingers scanned and a digital photograph taken at the time of their
entry. These can then be compared against existing watchlists, or used as the foundation for future watchlists. Plans are to extend this identification to consular offices overseas, and to add additional biometrics in the future.16
Biometrics can also be used to verify that the individual is actually the person they claim to be. Biometric information of various kinds can be encoded into a form of identification, which can then be matched against the individual.
Should the ID be stolen, the biometric data would provide a reference point to compare against. This variation of biometric verification is decentralized, because it only matches the person to the ID. A more centralized version could
match the person to the ID and the ID to a database, which would provide an additional layer of information and could be updated independently of the ID card itself. The most common possibility here is a national biometric ID card
and passport. In both cases, the documentation can be used not only to identify a person, but also confirm that the person is who they say they are, by matching the biometric data in the ID card and the person to an existing
database. As with biometric identification, this area of biometric verification is being implemented in various countries and forms. European and other countries are working to include biometric data in their passports, spurred on by
impending U.S. rules that will require biometric data from all foreign citizens who do not require a visa. The United States is itself expected to incorporate biometric data in its passports in 2005.17 The United Kingdom is proposing
the implementation of a national ID card, with fingerprint and iris scan information, to be implemented in 2007 and made mandatory in 2013, and there are similar discussions across the European Union.18 By creating mechanisms
to identify and verify, such as those discussed earlier, biometrics can then be used to authorize. For example, ID cards or passports can be used to restrict or grant access, whether to a facility or an entire country. Similarly, the U.S.
Immigration and Naturalization Service Passenger Accelerated Service System, or INSPASS, already uses hand geometry as a biometric to allow frequent travelers to pass through immigration more quickly. For many advocates,
biometrics is the logical response to an increasingly complex and risky system. Relying on sophisticated measurements rather than tokens and passwords, the system secures access even while it increases the ease of use.19 Not
surprisingly, there are individuals who are skeptical of the claims of biometrics as a useful or constructive tool against terrorism. One common criticism is in the area of civil liberties. Critics of biometrics worry that such a system,
because it is usually predicated on the idea of a large centralized reference database, will lead to an erosion of personal freedoms. Worries are that the use of biometrics will inevitably expand once widely implemented, both in the
amount of data that will be collected and in the ways it will be used in everyday life.20 This is clearly an important issue, confronting the balance between liberty and security. However, this article is primarily concerned with the
actual efficacy of biometric security measures. For now, this article turns to the three areas already discussed: identification, verification, and authorization, although some comments shall be made on civil liberties later on. In the
area of identification, skeptics argue that biometrics are a poor instrument to this end. The most touted technology in this area, face recognition, suffers from a series of limitations that some believe makes it virtually worthless. The
first concern is that of accuracy. Critics charge that the majority of successful tests of face recognition technology are under controlled conditions, where individuals are matched up against images taken under the best possible
conditions. In the real world, however, identifying suspects, especially when combing for such individuals out of large groups, is extremely difficult. Face recognition systems often fail to identify individuals when confronted with
changes in lighting, suspects not facing cameras head-on, or suspects wearing face-obscuring objects such as glasses. Identification can also degrade with the age of the photo as suspects get older.21 A second problem is that of
comparable reference information. As noted earlier, in order for face recognition to work, authorities need a reference photo with which to begin. In the case of terrorists, often their identities are unknown until after the event. Among
the 11 September hijackers, for example, only 2 of the 19 were under surveillance by the CIA prior to 2001, complete with photographic records. Even in this case, these two were only placed on a watch list three weeks before the
attacks, when they were already inside the United States.22 This points to a related problem with face recognition, even when carried out under controlled conditions. Given that the 11 September hijackers entered the country on
legal visas, such biometric controls as the US-VISIT system would have done little more than document, not prevent, their entry. As Mary Ryan, former head of the State Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs, testified in January
2004 before the 9/11 Commission, even under the best immigration controls, most of the September 11 terrorists would still be admitted to the United States today because they had no criminal records, or known terrorist
connections, and had not been identified by intelligence methods for special scrutiny.23 Third, there is the question of accuracy. As a number of critics note, even a system with a high degree of accuracy, which is not currently
promised by biometric technology, will necessarily produce a number of false positives. Bruce Schneier, a specialist on security issues, observes that even with a 99.9 percent accuracy rate, the result would be frequent false
positivesperhaps hundreds or thousandsat sites where there were large numbers of individuals, such as airports. In the end guards would come to disregard all hits, rendering the system useless.24 There are similar concerns
raised about biometrics as a means of verification. Recall that here this is verifying that a person is who she says she is. The claim of biometric supporters in this case should be much stronger, because rather than trying to identify
an unknown person, biometrics can be used to authenticate an individual using a set of measurements already on file. This would seem to make fraud difficult and identification easy given the degree of biometric control. Yet here too
there are problems. The issue goes back to the earlier discussion of identification. If dangerous individuals cannot be identified as such, then verification instruments are be largely meaningless, as suspects would be essentially
hiding only their intent, not their identities. As known, a potential terrorist may travel on a valid passport and visa, with all the rights those imply. Verification does not reveal motives, which are often available only after the fact. For
example, the 9/11 Commission noted in its report that in several cases the hijackers entered the United States with new clean passports, legitimately issued from their home countries, effectively erasing any international activities
that might have other-wise raised concern. Other passports were additionally doctored by Al Qaeda operatives to add or erase entry and exit stamps.25 In none of these cases would biometric identifiers have made any difference,
given that, as mentioned earlier, these individuals were not identified in advance by U.S. authorities as possible terrorists. But for the sake of argument, let it be assumed that threatening individuals are likely to travel under false
identification, and were their real identity known, their motives and the threat to security would be clear. Would biometric verification make this more difficult by making such fraudulent ID impossible? Here there are loopholes as
well. Just as identity theft is currently common, biometric data can also be stolen. Biometric data, for example, could be rewritten on stolen identification cards or passports, creating identifiers would match perfectly with the
individual. Of course, this could be thwarted through reference to a centralized database, with which the biometrics and passport data could be compared. But such a centralized database is only possible for a national population
over which a state has control and can gather and standardize information. It is unlikely that this would also incorporate relevant biometric and passport data for all citizens of other countries. Verification is thus limited by a state's
control over the original reference source, and countries will presumably have little to no control over foreign data because it rests under the jurisdiction of other states. An alternative might be to create an international database of
suspected terrorists, where even if a suspected terrorist were traveling under false identification, his biometric identifiers would match up in the system. This presumes, of course, that such a rich database of biometric information on
suspected terrorists would be possible. Fragmentary information would be more likely to simply generate a new source of false positives while failing to catch those terrorists who still are operating with essentially clean records. One
example that shows up the limits of biometrics in terms of verification is the case of Ahmed Ressam. Ressam, an Algerian living in Canada who had claimed political asylum, was arrested in 1999 on the U.S.-Canadian border with
bomb materials that he intended to use against the Los Angeles airport. In this case, Ressam was traveling on a Canadian passport that he had obtained by first purchasing a stolen blank birth certificate. As a result, Ressam was
able to acquire a legitimate Canadian passport, albeit under a different name.26 No inclusion of biometric identifiers in the passport would have made a difference, because the passport had not been altered in any way. If anything,
biometrics would only have strengthened the purported legitimacy of his claim, because Ressam and the passport's biometric data would have matched perfectly. Ressam was stopped only because he was acting suspiciously at
customs, not because his papers were not in order. Finally, biometric detectors can be physically thwarted. Studies have shown that iris and retinal scans and fingerprinting can be fooled through relatively uncomplicated means,
such as using a plastic mold to replicate a fingerprint or high-quality scans to reproduce facial and eye features.27 This article has not considered the ability to hack into databases and plant, remove, or steal identity data, a concern

In short, biometrics as a form of identification and verification is highly


problematic, subject to many of the same problems current security systems face .
Identification is difficult, owing to problems in the depth and breadth of reference
information and matching that information to individuals at large . Verification, too, has
serious limitations, given the problems in controlling the reference data . In both cases,
determined individuals who might be spotted by such systems can use relatively
simple means to thwart the system. This in turn creates an opportunity for false authorization to enter the
which will be considered later.

country, take a domestic flight, or purchase and assemble the ingredients for a terrorist attack. So far this article has discussed the
shortcomings in biometrics as a counterterrorist tool, arguing that they are unlikely to create the kind of foolproof system many
believe. This is an important conclusion, but in fact it may not be the most important one, to which the article shall now turn. Recall
the earlier discussion about the nature of complexity and the potential for normal accidents. In the range between linear and
complex, tightly and loosely coupled organizations, Perrow and others have argued that

the greatest danger comes

from highly complex, tightly coupled systems. Under these conditions there is little flexibility
or buffering, such that a small deviation in some part of the system can have
cascading effects that can lead to a system-wide collapse . Scholars have pointed to the dangers
inherent in such high-risk systems, and this article has noted the degree to which terrorists may seek to fail
these systems, essentially provoking their collapse. Importantly, this concern can apply to
counterterrorist technology itself. Although there are various competing forms of biometric technology in play at
this time, it is clear that for many advocates and policymakers the goal is a centralized system that brings various
criminal, immigration, and national ID databases together and links them to a system for
identification and verification.28 The objective, then, is the creation of a complex, tightly
coupled systemthe very system that organizational theorists believe is prone to
catastrophic failure. It is not difficult to imagine the ways in which such a system could be brought down. Some of
these have already been identified by the U.S. National Research Council's Committee on Authentication Technologies and their

the implementation of a centralized system would


require widespread access from various remote locations . Some examples might be customs desks,
Privacy Implications. In their report, they noted that

airline check-ins, security clearance stations, police vehicles, and access points at high-risk public facilities such as power plants and

This ubiquity in turn generates numerous points of failure, making it prone to


break-in by physically accessing one of the sites, by finding some communication-based vulnerability, or by bribing or
corrupting someone with access to the system.29 Such attacks would allow intruders access into the
system, giving them the opportunity for identity theft or to otherwise alter data.
ports.

Identity theft by terrorists is already a major concern, and a biometric system may only provide more opportunities for such theft to
occur.30 Biometrics could give terrorists the ability to build sophisticated identities online, giving them unprecedented levels of
access. However, the National Research Council report mentions a less commonly anticipated danger. That is, if

verification
of identity required an online database query at airports, a handful of accidents at
key places around the country could cripple [damage] civil aviation and any other
commerce that required identity verification (for example, the purchase of guns or certain chemicals).31
This concern is completely consistent with Perrow's notion of tightly coupled, complex systems, where a failure at one
location can have cascading effects throughout the system as a whole. Such a
failure, the study notes, could be achieved either through a physical attack on the
infrastructure or a cyberattack. They note that especially in the absence of a costly dedicated network, such an
Internet-based system would inevitably be the target of malicious attacks as well as subject to unintentional or incidental

Bringing down a centralized security system could paralyze [destroy] those


systems dependent on identification and verification , leave critical sites open to
physical attack, and generate widespread panic. Some specialists on cybersecurity dismiss these
damage.32

concerns, arguing that fears of an electronic Pearl Harbor are scare tactics peddled by government to a gullible media.33
However, this skepticism is not effectively bolstered by any particular evidence, other than the assertion that such attacks are too
difficult for terrorists to carry out. This, however, echoes similar criticisms made before 2001 that concerns over large-scale terrorist
attacks in the United States were deliberately overblown and hysterical.34 In contrast, a 2002 report from the Institute for Security
Technology Studies at Dartmouth on the security of the electric power industry concluded that this sector is vulnerable to cyber
impacts, and indications are that terrorists, hostile nation-states or malicious computer hackers pose a threat to the sector.35 Other
networked segments of the national infrastructure are presumably equally vulnerable. On closer inspection many critiques of the
possibility of cyberwar are predicated on the belief that the government is deliberately playing up the threat of cyberterrorism in
order to chip away at personal freedoms.36 This article makes a somewhat different conclusion. Evidence indicates that these
concerns are indeed real. However, the proposed solution, which is presented to the public as a necessary compromise of civil
liberties in return for greater security, will in fact generate less security and more opportunities for terrorist attack. In short, the
creation of a new complex and tightly coupled system creates a new target. The more dependent future security becomes on such a
system, the more serious the repercussions of its potential failure. Neither freedom nor security is thus defended. Rush to Failure?
Explaining the Appeal of Biometrics Jump to section Complex Organizations and Complex Failure Biometrics as a Counterterrorist...
Rush to Failure? Explaining the Appeal... Counterterrorism and Decentralization This article has outlined the nature of complex

centralized biometric systems would


result in a new layer of complexity that is both of questionable efficacy and itself
prone to attack. These concerns are well documented and come from various
quarters. Underlying all of these concerns is a simple fact. There is scant evidence showing that
expanded identification systems, even if effective, would reduce the threat of
terrorism. The causal mechanism is intuitive, but not empirically established:37 Why then the rush toward biometrics? There
systems and their vulnerabilities. It has also noted the paradox that

are several possible explanations, and these center on the way in which society perceives and constructs both the risk of terrorism
and the solution to it. This article now deals with each of these in turn.

Assessing risk through the lens of magnitude breaks down


rational risk calculus as the measure of loss approaches
extinction --- it also exacerbates the security paradigm and
increases surveillance
Kessler and Daase 8 (Oliver Professor of Sociology at the University of Bielefeld,
and Christopher Professor of Political Science at the University of Munich, From
Insecurity to Uncertainty: Risk and the Paradox of Security Politics, in Alternatives:
Global, Local, Political, Volume 33, p. 223-228,
http://alt.sagepub.com/content/33/2/211.full.pdf)
The objective is to develop means and methods to deal with uncertainty and reduce it to risk.46 Uncertainty is subsequently redefined in terms of
contingency: One may not know what the next state of the world exactly is going to be but one can have a good guess and possibly find some insurance.
To calculate risks does not mean that they can be measured objectively. Not all uncertainties are of quantitative nature and thus understandable within the
common definition of rationality.47 In particular, the evaluation of risks may vary according to the political interests or cultural contextes If this is
acknowledged, the traditional concept of deterministic causality loses its validity. Uncertain political results and uncertain strategies do not follow
predetermined laws, but, if anything, probabilistic laws. Thus, what political scientists can achieve at best is probabilistic knowledgethat is, knowledge
about necessary and sufficient reasons and causes that may not be able to predict single events but that do identify the conditions under which the
realization of specific events is more or less likely. If this is accepted, the question of how big the threat of international terrorism currently is can no longer
be answered by pointing to the next terrorist act that will surely happen at some point in the future. For the fact that the current calm is just the calm
before the next storm is as true as it is trivial. However, exactly such trivial insights that the next terrorist "attack" will happen determine current security
policy discourses. There are two reasons for this. First, there are two equally inadequate standard models to examine the risk of terrorism.49 The one
inquires into the motivational structure of terrorist groups and individual terrorists and tries to extrapolate future attacks from past terrorist activities. The
other attempts to calculate the risk by multiplying expected losses by their probability of occurrence. The former is preferred by terrorism experts and
regional specialists, the latter by decision makers and security analysts. The problem of the first method, however, is that it cannot account for new
developments and spontaneous changes in terrorist practices. There is always a first time when new strategies are used or new targets are selected. Even
using planes as cruise missiles in order to destroy skyscrapers was an innovation not clearly foreseen by specialists, because such behavior was nearly
unimaginable at the time. Extrapolation methods to determine terrorism risks are thus inherently conservative and tend to underestimate the danger. The

If the risk of terrorism is


defined in traditional terms by probability and potential loss, then the focus on
dramatic terror attacks leads to the marginalization of probabilities. The reason is
that even the highest degree of improbability becomes irrelevant as the measure
of loss goes to infinity. The mathematical calculation of the risk of terrorism thus
tends to overestimate and to dramatize the danger. This has consequences beyond the actual
risk assessment for the formulation and execution of "risk policies": If one factor of the risk calculation
approaches infinity (e.g., if a case of nuclear terrorism is envisaged), then there is
no balanced measure for antiterrorist efforts, and risk management as a
rational endeavor breaks down. Under the historical condition of bipolarity, the "ultimate" threat with
problem of the second method is that it is very difficult to "calculate" politically unacceptable losses.

nuclear weapons could be balanced by a similar counterthreat, and new equilibria could be achieved, albeit on higher levels of
nuclear overkill. Under the new condition of uncertainty, no such rational balancing is possible since knowledge about actors, their
motives and capabilities, is largely absent. The second form of security policy that emerges when the deterrence model collapses
mirrors the "social probability" approach. It represents a logic of catastrophe. In contrast to risk management framed in line with
logical probability theory, the logic of catastrophe does not attempt to provide means of absorbing uncertainty. Rather, it takes
uncertainty as constitutive for the logic itself; uncertainty is a crucial precondition for catastrophies. In particular, catastrophes
happen at once, without a warning, but with major implications for the world polity. In this category, we find the impact of
meteorites. Mars attacks, the tsunami in South East Asia, and 9/11. To conceive of terrorism as catastrophe has consequences for
the formulation of an adequate security policy. Since catastrophes happen irrespectively of human activity or inactivity, no political
action could possibly prevent them. Of course, there are precautions that can be taken, but the framing of terrorist attack as a

political decision makers


are exempted from the responsibility to provide securityas long as they at least try to
preempt an attack. Interestingly enough, 9/11 was framed as catastrophe in various commissions dealing with the
catastrophe points to spatial and temporal characteristics that are beyond "rationality." Thus,

question of who was responsible and whether it could have been prevented. This makes clear that under the condition of
uncertainty, there are no objective criteria that could serve as an anchor for measuring dangers and assessing the quality of political
responses. For example, as much as one might object to certain measures by the US administration, it is almost impossible to
"measure" the success of countermeasures. Of course, there might be a subjective assessment of specific shortcomings or failures,
but there is no "common" currency to evaluate them. As a consequence, the framework of the security dilemma fails to capture the
basic uncertainties. Pushing the door open for the security paradox, the main problem of security analysis then becomes the
question how to integrate dangers in risk assessments and security policies about which simply nothing is known. In the mid 1990s,

a Rand study entitled "New Challenges for Defense Planning" addressed this issue arguing that "most striking is the fact that we do
not even know who or what will constitute the most serious future threat, "^i In order to cope with this challenge it would be
essential, another Rand researcher wrote, to break free from the "tyranny" of plausible scenario planning. The decisive step would
be to create "discontinuous scenarios . . . in which there is no plausible audit trail or storyline from current events"52 These
nonstandard scenarios were later called "wild cards" and became important in the current US strategic discourse. They justified the

The problem with this kind


of risk assessment is, however, that even the most absurd scenarios can gain
plausibility. By constructing a chain of potentialities, improbable events are
linked and brought into the realm of the possible, if not even the probable. "Although the
likelihood of the scenario dwindles with each step , the residual impression is one
of plausibility. "54 This so-called Othello effect has been effective in the dawn of the
recent war in Iraq. The connection between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda that the US government tried to prove was disputed from the
transformation from a threat-based toward a capabilitybased defense planning strategy.53

very beginning. False evidence was again and again presented and refuted, but this did not prevent the administration from presenting as the main
rationale for war the improbable yet possible connection between Iraq and the terrorist network and the improbable yet possible proliferation of an
improbable yet possible nuclear weapon into the hands of Bin Laden. As Donald Rumsfeld famously said: "Absence of evidence is not evidence of
absence." This sentence indicates that under the condition of genuine uncertainty, different evidence criteria prevail than in situations where security
problems can be assessed with relative certainty. Contemporary dynamics in the fight against terrorism seem to result from a clash of different logics of
probability. As Ulrich Beck has shown, terrorism has altered the meaning of space and time for the analysis of risk. Spatially, terrorist networks escape the
logic of the nation-state and "diplomacy." Networks are neither private nor public in the sovereign sense; they represent neither a domestic nor an
international "actor." Temporally, attacks always have a catastrophic element. They are simply faster than mihtary "threats" in the tradirional sense
because they happen without a contextual warning. In other words, uncertainries associated with terrorism escape the logic of risk as terrorism alters the
very contours of world politics: It represents a qualitative change that redefines the very game and reality that states face.^s However, by focusing
primarily on "sponsor states" and an "axis of evil," the current fight against terrorism attempts to reduce the interplay of those various logics to the
imperative of deterrence. It is the attempt to ignore categorical shifts and its associated uncertainties and replace it by "traditional security policy." In this
sense, the readdressing of terrorism to states that harbor terrorists is then an attempt to invoke the traditional vocabulary of deterrence and the logic of
the security dilemma. So when we look at terrorism as an issue of "systemic" importance, the fight represents an expansion of "uncertainty to risk"
reasoning to a phenomenon that, from its qualities, belongs to the realm of epistemic probability theory. Neither the assumption of well-defined problem
settings and repeatable events nor the fixation of the political vocabulary or the mutual formation of expectations based on "known" adversaries applies.
When read from the context of probability theory, the current endeavors are subject to a conflict between intersubjective epistemology and individualist
ontology that manifests itself as a conflict between universal validity of statements and the particularity of contexts. While the universality argument
points to the laws associated with the balance of power, of deterrence and pursuit of national interests, the contextual dimension points to (self-)
reflexivity and contingency of one's own position. What might be true here might not be true there. Accepting uncertainty would make it imperative to
understand the other's position and engage in a dialogue. However, in a sense, the current fight uses a universal method to fight a contextual problem.
The article proposed a framework of risk, uncertainty, and probability and argued that we experience an overall transformation from "insecurity" to
"uncertainty." The insecurity paradigm treats the notion of security as theoretically superior to that of uncertainty and risk. The primary task of security
policy is then the avoidance of risk. Starting from welldenned categories and games, this approach is constitutive for deterrence and dtente as two
modes dealing with contingency within preset games. Positions based on the uncertainty paradigm that sees a categorical differentiation between risk and
uncertainty leave the confines of the security dilemma behind.

Security becomes an empty concept and

politically unachievable. In this context, uncertainty describes an unstructured realm, where standard criteria of rationality do not
apply. Pointing to a possible- and multiple-worlds' semantic, this approach is interested in how actors actively structure or construct the world they live in.
From this perspective, the current problem is not insecurity deriving from the security dilemma, but uncertainty deriving from the changing categories of
our political vocabulary signifying unpredictable futures and inconsistent policies. At the same time, however, the current fight against terrorism is
structured in such a way as to reduce the various kinds of uncertainties and contingencies to the logic of deterrence. Hence deterrence has not lost any of
its actuality; however, by applying this logic in a context that challenges its constitutive boundaries, it seems as if the option of dtente has been lost. In
other words, what we see is that the logic of the security dilemma, and its particular semantics of threat, risk, and security, is used for the framing of
terrorism as a threat. As a consequence, we can identify three dynamics "driving" today's security policy that result exactly from the conflict between the
intersubjective constitution of threats and the individual ontology of the deterrence strategy as today's main strategy. First, as Aradau and van Muster

it translates into a dramatic increase of surveillance


technologies: In the fight against terrorism, surveillance functions as an early warning system that allows
identification of potential terrorists and therewith, and at the same time, is thought to "deter" future attacks .
The introduction of private data, video cameras, and biometric data is presented as a legitimate
means to detect and deter future terrorist attacks . These measures are introduced on
the basis of the precautionary principle thatin our viewis so attractive exactly
because it tries to reduce various kinds of uncertainty to a logic of insecurity . Second,
have convincingly argued,

what is commonly known as the revolution in military affairs, introduces the same individualist ontology on the level of military
policy: It translates the catastrophic features of terrorism into a logic of deterrence by actively reshaping the spatial and temporal
conditions of military conduct. The strategy is to introduce technologies that can be remotely controlled without employment of
soldiers. The task is to be ready to "strike back," instantly and at any time from any place in the world. However, and thirdly, these
measures are based on an unnecessary necessity. Presenting terrorism as an objective threat that "exists" independent of practices
might produce a distance between oneself and "the other." However, it misses out the importance of context and other means of
"risk management" that would require a selfreflective analysis of how "us and them" are constructed in the first place.

Current debate reverses the logical burden of proof --- we


begin from the presumption DAs start from 100% risk instead
of being built up by zero risk --- this distorts our risk calculus
Cohn 13 (Nate politics writer for the NY Times, debate coach at Georgia,
Improving the Norms and Practices of Policy Debate, in CEDA Debate forums, 1124-13, http://www.cedadebate.org/forum/index.php?
action=printpage;topic=5416.0)
The fact that policy debate is wildly out of touchthe fact that we are a bunch of white folks talking about
nuclear waris a damning indictment of nearly every coach in this activity. Its a serious indictment of the successful policy debate
coaches, who have been content to continue a pedagogically unsound game, so long as they keep winning. Its a serious indictment
of policy debates discontents who chose to disengage. Thats not to say there hasnt been any effort to challenge modern policy
debate on its own termsjust that theyve mainly come from the middle of the bracket and werent very successful, focusing on

Judges were receptive to the sentiment


that disads were unrealistic, but negative claims to specificity always triumphed over
generic epistemological questions or arguments about why predictions fail. The
affirmative rarely introduced substantive responses to the disadvantage, rarely read impact defense. All considered, the
negative generally won a significant risk that the plan resulted in nuclear war . Once that
was true, it was basically impossible to win that some moral obligation outweighed the
(dare I say?) obligation to avoid a meaningful risk of extinction . There were other problems. Many of the
morality arguments and various predictions bad claims to outweigh.

small affirmatives were unstrategicteams rarely had solvency deficits to generic counterplans. It was already basically impossible

it was totally untenable to win that a moral


obligation outweighed a meaningful risk of extinction; it made even less sense if the
counterplan solved most of the morality argument. The combined effect was devastating: As these debates are currently
to win that some morality argument outweighed extinction;

argued and judged, I suspect that the negative would win my ballot more than 95 percent of the time in a debate between two
teams of equal ability. But even if a soft left team did betterespecially by making solvency deficits and responding to the
specifics of the disadvantageI still think they would struggle. They could compete at the highest levels, but, in most debates,

The risk
would be small, but the magnitude of the impact would often be enough to
outweigh a higher probability , smaller impact. Or put differently: policy debate still
wouldnt be replicating a real world policy assessment, teams reading small affirmatives
would still be at a real disadvantage with respect to reality. . Why? Oddly, this is the unreasonable result of a
reasonable part of debate: the burden of refutation or rejoinder , the responsibility of
debaters to beat arguments. If I introduce an argument, it starts out at 100 percent
you then have to disprove it. That sounds like a pretty good idea in principle, right? Well, I think so too. But its
really tough to refute something down to zero percenta team would need to
completely and totally refute an argument. Thats obviously tough to do, especially since the other team is
judges would still assess a small, but meaningful risk of a large scale conflict, including nuclear war and extinction.

usually going to have some decent arguments and pretty good cards defending each component of their disadvantageeven the

one of the most fundamental assumptions about debate all but ensures
a meaningful risk of nearly any argumenteven extremely low-probability , high
magnitude impacts, sufficient to outweigh systemic impacts. Theres another even more subtle
element of debate practice at play. Traditionally, the 2AC might introduce 8 or 9 cards against a
disadvantage, like non-unique, no-link, no-impact, and then go for one and two. Yet in reality, disadvantages are
underpinned by dozens or perhaps hundreds of discrete assumptions, each of which
could be contested. By the end of the 2AR, only a handful are under scrutiny ; the majority of
the disadvantage is conceded, and its tough to bring the one or two scrutinized
components down to zero. And then theres a bad understanding of probability. If
ridiculous parts. So

the affirmative questions four or five elements of the disadvantage, but the negative was still clearly ahead on all five elements,
most judges would assess that the negative was clearly ahead on the disadvantage. In reality, the risk of the disadvantage has
been reduced considerably.

If there was, say, an 80 percent chance that immigration reform

would pass, an 80 percent chance that political capital was key, an 80 percent chance that the
plan drained a sufficient amount of capital, an 80 percent chance that immigration reform was necessary to prevent
another recession, and an 80 percent chance that another recession would cause a nuclear war (lol), then theres a 32
percent chance that the disadvantage caused nuclear war. I think these issues can be overcome.
First, I think teams can deal with the burden of refutation by focusing on the burden of
proof, which allows a team to mitigate an argument before directly contradicting its
content. Heres how Id look at it: modern policy debate has assumed that arguments start
out at 100 percent until directly refuted . But few, if any, arguments are supported by
evidence consistent with 100 percent. Most cards dont make definitive claims . Even
when they do, theyre not supported by definitive evidence and any reasonable person should assume
theres at least some uncertainty on matters other than few true facts, like 2+2=4. Take Georgetowns immigration uniqueness
evidence from Harvard. It says there may be a window for immigration. So, based on the negatives evidence, what are the odds
that immigration reform will pass? Far less than 50 percent, if you ask me. Thats not always true for every card in the 1NC, but

If you apply this very


basic level of analysis to each element of a disadvantage, and correctly explain
math (.4*.4*.4*.4*.4=.01024), the risk of the disadvantage starts at a very low level,
even before the affirmative offers a direct response. Debaters should also
argue that the negative hasnt introduced any evidence at all to defend a long list of
unmentioned elements in the internal link chain. The absence of evidence to defend the argument that,
say, recession causes depression, may not eliminate the disadvantage, but it does raise uncertaintyand it doesnt take
too many additional sources of uncertainty to reduce the probability of the
disadvantage to effectively zerosort of the static, background noise of prediction. Now, I do
sometimes its even worselike the impact card, which is usually a long string of coulds.

think it would be nice if a good debate team would actually do the worktalk about what the cards say, talk about the unmentioned

debaters can make these observations at a meta-level (your evidence isnt certain,
lots of undefended elements) and successfully reduce the risk of a nuclear war or
extinction to something indistinguishable from zero . It would not be a factor in my decision.
stepsbut I think

Based on my conversations with other policy judges, it may be possible to pull it off with even less work. They might be willing to
summarily disregard absurd arguments, like politics disadvantages, on the grounds that its patently unrealistic, that we know the
typical burden of rejoinder yields unrealistic scenarios, and that judges should assess debates in ways that produce realistic
assessments. I dont think this is too different from elements of Jonah Feldmans old philosophy, where he basically said when I
assessed 40 percent last year, its 10 percent now. Honestly, I was surprised that the few judges I talked to were so amenable to
this argument. For me, just saying its absurd, and you know it wouldnt be enough against an argument in which the other team
invested considerable time. The more developed argument about accurate risk assessment would be more convincing, but I still
think it would be vulnerable to a typical defense of the burden of rejoinder. To be blunt: I want debaters to learn why a disadvantage
is absurd, not just make assertions that conform to their preexisting notions of whats realistic and whats not. And perhaps more
importantly for this discussion, I could not coach a team to rely exclusively on this argumentIm not convinced that enough judges
are willing to discount a disadvantage on its absurd. Nonetheless, I think this is a useful frame that should preface a following,
more robust explanation of why the risk of the disadvantage is basically zeroeven before a substantive response is offered. There
are other, broad genres of argument that can contest the substance of the negatives argument. There are serious methodological
indictments of the various forms of knowledge production, from journalistic reporting to think tanks to quantitative social science.

Many of our most strongly worded cards come from people giving opinions, for
which they offer very little data or evidence . And even when qualified people are
giving predictions, theres a great case to be extremely skeptical without real
evidence backing it up. The world is a complicated place, predictions are hard, and
most people are wrong. And again, this is before contesting the substance of the negatives argument(!)if deemed
necessary. So, in my view, the low probability scenario is waiting to be eliminated from debate, basically as soon as a capable team
tries to do it. That would open to the door to all of the arguments, previously excluded, de facto, by the prevalence of nuclear war
impacts. Its been tough to talk about racism or gender violence, since modest measures to mitigate these impacts have a difficult
time outweighing a nuclear war. Its been tough to discuss ethical policy making, since its hard to argue that any commitment to
philosophical or ethical purity should apply in the face of an existential risk. Its been tough to introduce unconventional forms of
evidence, since they cant really address the probability of nuclear war. Yes, the affirmative would still need to debate counterplans.
Sometimes, I get the impression thats a point of controversy, too. Quite frankly, I think counterplans are good. I dont think the
negative should only be forced to exclusively debate about harms. Theres no way we can have a fair topic about, say, prison
reform, if the negative can only defend the status quo. Thats especially true if you dont want to debate the political cost of the
actionwhich, in many instances, is the reason why the government hasnt made obvious policy changes. Yet at the same time, I
think its probably time to retire a few genres of generic counterplans. I think its time to retire the alternative actor counterplan,
which isnt a logical response to the affirmative. I also think its time to require that teams read evidence at a comprehensible
speed. Comprehensible in front of me would still be fast by non-debater standards, but it would make debate far more accessible,

it would solve the apparently rampant issue of card clipping, and, well, I dont really know why it wasnt required in the first place. I
still think judges should call for cards, but they should call cards for additional scrutiny, not to make up for the fact that they never
understood the content in the first place. Top policy judges and coaches should consider leading on this issues by writing and
endorsing a pact establishing norms for clarity. The standard should be simple: the relevant warrant and argument in the card
should be on your flow. There are certainly other problematic norms that I havent addressed. Id love to hear others comment on
specific norms and practices that they find problematic.

International events are fundamentally unpredictable and


experts have no more success than the general population
Taleb 7 (Nassim, Distinguished Professor of Risk Engineering at Polytechnic
Institute of New York University, Prologue, in The Black Swan: The Impact of the
Highly Improbable, Random House, 2007, p. xxiv-xxv)
The inability to predict outliers implies the inability to predict the course of history,
given the share of these events in the dynamics of events . But we act as though we
are able to predict historical events, or, even worse, as if we are able to change the course of history. We
produce thirty-year projections of social security deficits and oil prices without
realizing that we cannot even predict these for next summerour
cumulative prediction errors for political and economic events are so
monstrous that every time I look at the empirical record I have to pinch myself to
verify that I am not dreaming. What is surprising is not the magnitude of our
forecast errors, but our absence of awareness of it. This is all the more worrisome
when we engage in deadly conflicts: wars are fundamentally unpredictable (and
we do not know it). Owing to this misunderstanding of the causal chains between policy
and actions, we can easily trigger Black Swans thanks to aggressive ignorancelike
a child playing with a chemistry kit. Our inability to predict in environments
subjected to the Black Swan, coupled with a general lack of the awareness of this
state of affairs, means that certain professionals, while believing they are experts,
are in fact not. Based on their empirical record , they do not know more about
their subject matter than the general population, but they are much better at
narratingor, worse, at smoking you with complicated mathematical models. They are also
more likely to wear a tie. Black Swans being unpredictable, we need to adjust to their existence (rather than navely try to predict
them). There are so many things we can do if we focus on antiknowledge, or what we do not know. Among many other benefits, you
can set yourself up to collect serendipitous Black Swans (of the positive kind) by maximizing your exposure to them. Indeed, in some
domainssuch as scientific discovery and venture capital investmentsthere is a disproportionate payoff from the unknown, since
you typically have little to lose and plenty to gain from a rare event. We will see that, contrary to social-science wisdom, almost no
discovery, no technologies of note, came from design and planningthey were just Black Swans. The strategy for the discoverers
and entrepreneurs is to rely less on top-down planning and focus on maximum tinkering and recognizing opportunities when they
present themselves. So I disagree with the followers of Marx and those of Adam Smith: the reason free markets work is because they
allow people to be lucky, thanks to aggressive trial and error, not by giving rewards or incentives for skill. The strategy is, then, to
tinker as much as possible and try to collect as many Black Swan opportunities as you can.

2ac at: h-triv


Agamben isnt making a direct comparison, and his theories
have clear reasons for the parallels he draws
Robinson 11 (Andrew political theorist, activist based in the UK and research
fellow affiliated to the Centre for the Study of Social and Global Justice (CSSGJ),
University of Nottingham, In Theory Giorgio Agamben: the state and the
concentration camp, in Ceasefire Magazine, 1-7-11,
https://ceasefiremagazine.co.uk/in-theory-giorgio-agamben-the-state-and-theconcentration-camp/)
some will reject his theories for violating Godwins Law, or because they feel it is
trivialising or decontextualising the camp to compare it to every instance of
repression. This, I suspect, is based on a misunderstanding. For one thing, Agamben is not
actually saying that we are all treated like camp inmates, simply that were all at risk
from being treated as if we are of this status we could be killed by the state with
impunity, even if we arent. Also, this is not just a case of Agamben calling people he dislikes Nazis. There are
clear, structural reasons for the parallels he draws. I would argue that, in contrast, the
tabooing of discussion of fascistic elements of present state practices is based on a
kind of irrational splitting, which wards off the subversive implications of never
again by keeping them at a distance, pretending they dont apply to us, they only
apply to issues behind some imaginary boundary (in undemocratic societies for instance) which
historically would prove to be far more porous . It is, I think, a peculiar perspectival blockage of radicalisms
Doubtless

in countries like Britain to confine anti-fascism to opposing small neo-Nazi groups. In contrast, German antifa have long recognised
the parallels between the repressive practices (and even the personnel) of the current German state and those of the Third Reich; so
have radicals in Italy, Spain, Greece and Japan. It is only in countries like Britain and America, with no recent fascist past to compare
to, where the existence of a continuum between fascism and the deep state is something of a public secret, even among radicals.

The Holocaust happened for contingent, historical reasons but


the camp was a key precondition
Robinson 11 (Andrew political theorist, activist based in the UK and research
fellow affiliated to the Centre for the Study of Social and Global Justice (CSSGJ),
University of Nottingham, In Theory Giorgio Agamben: the state and the
concentration camp, in Ceasefire Magazine, 1-7-11,
https://ceasefiremagazine.co.uk/in-theory-giorgio-agamben-the-state-and-theconcentration-camp/)
The concentration camp, and Nazi death camps such as Auschwitz in particular, are for Agamben particularly definitive or telling

The camp (which preceded the Holocaust by a long time ) was a


turning-point for Agamben because it made the temporary state of exception
permanent, locating it in space instead of time (unlike the declaration of a state of emergency), and
local to the core area of power, within its territory but outside its law (unlike the colony or warzone). This fixing
examples of sovereignty.

of the state of exception as a permanent feature at a site in time and space intensifies the danger to people declared homo sacer.

Formerly, an outlawed person would be literally banished , becoming a wandering figure driven into
exile. Now, an outlawed person is not allowed to go into exile (think for instance of the immense efforts put into
catching high-profile fugitives), but rather, is put in a situation suspended between inside and
outside, constantly at risk of arbitrary power. For Agamben, camps differ from other disciplinary spaces
(prisons, asylums and so on) because in them, anything is possible, and the guard is absolutely
sovereign. The Nazi Holocaust marks a second turning point in which the horrors of the camp are revealed in all their

The Holocaust happened when and where it did for contingent, historical
reasons, but its real causes were the creation of a particular kind of space , the camp,
where people were defined as having lives not worth living , and as being vulnerable
to being killed with impunity. Auschwitz is the high point of the logic of sovereignty, showing its ontological nature in
monstrosity.

its realisation: it shows where the combination of biopolitics and sovereignty leads. Auschwitz marks the point of no return which
reveals the nature of sovereignty for what it really is. It thus marks the starting point for a new politics.

2ac at: try or die


Timeframe based try or die calculations justify consolidation of
power and radical, unprecented violence
Vivian 13 (Bradford Professor of Communication and Rhetorical Studies at
Syracuse University, Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University, Times of Violence,
Published in the Quarterly Journal of Speech, Volume 99, Issue 2, 2013, pg. 1,
http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00335630.2013.775704?
journalCode=rqjs20#.VGaEkvnF90o)
The ways that authoritative institutions invoke and order time as a means of
consolidating and expressing power often engender violence. Conflicting interpreta- tions of
holy writ and spiritual obligation have incited bloody religious persecutions and armed conflicts for centuries. Slavoj Zizek
contends that secular (not only religious) regimes justify radical police or military
action by invoking apocalyptic senses of time: Apocalyptic time is the time of
the end of time, the time of emergency, of the state of exception when the end is
nigh.2 States of exception in liberal-democratic nations are also times of exception:
executive authorities exercise unprecedented forms of violence both within and
without national borders by citing as justification allegedly temporary
episodes of state emergency.3

2ac at: determinate site


Sovereign exceptionalism is spatializing, not spatially bounded
Belcher et al. 8 (Oliver Belcher postdoctoral researcher on the RELATE Center of
Excellence located at the University of Oulu, Finland, former postdoctoral researcher
on the BIOS Project at the Arctic Center, University of Lapland, Finland, Lauren
Martin Academy of Finland, Postdoctoral Researcher, RELATE Centre of Excellence,
Department of Geography, University of Oulu, Finland, PhD in Geography,
Department of Geography, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky, Anna Secor
Full Professor, University of Kentucky, Geography Department, PhD, University of
Colorado, Stephanie Simon, Tommy Wilson, Everywhere and Nowhere: The
Exception and the Topological Challenge to Geography, Published in Antipode,
Volume 40, Issue 4, pages 499503, September 2008,
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-8330.2008.00620.x/abstract)
Geography's use of Giorgio Agamben's work has proliferated in recent years. While approaches and interpretations of Agamben's
political theory have varied, a common aim has been to apply his theory of exception to socio-geographical phenomena and to
disclose the ban as the originary political relation (Diken and Laustsen 2005:2425; Ek 2006:363; Kearns 2006; Minca 2005,

focus on the space of the exception as a determinate sociotemporal site, such as Guantanamo Bay. We argue that this focus on determinate spaces elides the
real spatializing work of the exception, which, we emphasize, is topological (see also Coleman
2007). The problem with focusing on a static geometry of exceptional spaces is that it
obscures the ways in which the exception operates as an unlocalizable process of
transformation. As Brian Massumi (2002:184) puts it, the distinction between topology and static
geometry is the distinction between the process of arriving at a form through
continuous deformation and the determinate form arrived at when the process
stops (see also Hannah 2006). Topologies, unlike topographies, do not map discreet locations
or particular objects. While it is true that we can identify operative spaces of exception ,
the exception also materializes ordinary spaces. As a topological figure that creates
the conditions for particular materialized sites, the exception is emergent, which is to say
that it is not a preformed category but a dynamic set of techniques of power . In this way,
2006). The result has been a

we emphasize Agamben's relationship with Foucault, an affinity that is often lost in various interpretations of his writings. The
implications of a topological and emergent understanding of the exception become clearer in the context of Agamben's idea of
sovereignty as potential and actual. At the same time, our intervention aims to show how a topological, emergent understanding of

If the spatiality of Agamben's political theory


has been treated in too fixed a manner , this tendency might in no small part be due
to a confusion between Agamben's political theory and that of the primary theorist of the
sovereign exception, Carl Schmitt. Schmitt argues that juridical rule and State authority are
made possible by the decision on what constitutes the normal case (where the rule of law
holds) versus the exception (where the law is suspended) (Schmitt 1985). Schmitt's idea of the
ordering of space involves above all the decision on the exception that establishes the
inside and the outside of the law. The state of exception, according to Schmitt, designated a zone of free and
the exception might open up a potential for radical politics.

empty space, that is, a suspension of all law for a certain time and in a certain space (Schmitt 2003:99). For Schmitt, therefore,
the decision on the exception performs a juridical and territorial ordering at the same time as it demarcates a specific spatio-

Agamben's departure from Schmitt on the question of


space is clear in Homo Sacer, where he writes: In its archetypal form, the state of
exception is therefore the principle of every juridical localization , since only the state of
exception opens the space in which the determination of a certain juridical order
and a particular territory first becomes possible . As such, the state of exception itself is
thus essentially unlocalizable (even if definite spatio-temporal limits can be
temporal orderthe space of the exception.

assigned to it from time to time) (Agamben 1998:19). Thus for Agamben the state of exception is the principle of
territorialization (ordering and orienting) but is itself essentially unlocalizable. While Schmitt explicitly renders the state of exception
as spatially and temporally bounded, Agamben's contribution to the theory of the exception is to reread Walter Benjamin's
engagement with Schmitt and to bring into sharp relief its contemporary relevance. For Agamben, this state inaugurates a rupture
within the Schmittian correspondence between order and orientation, between law and space. For Schmitt the decision on the

for Agamben the exception also


produces and diffuses a zone of indistinction within which the law and its
suspension become indistinguishable. This state of exception is not itself a kind of
space, but rather a technique of government (Agamben 2005:2) that produces a
topographical juridical-territorial order by determining the inside and the outside of
law (as Schmitt also argues); establishes the principles by which we distinguish law from its
application; and produces a topological relationship between the inside and outside
of law such that they become indistinguishable (delocalization). Because topological space is always a
exception merely demarcates the inside and the outside of the law, but

process of becoming, we use analytics of governmentality, which itself refers to the everyday emergence of power and control, to
think through how the exception works. For Foucault, governmentality refers to a field of everyday practices, organized by a
complex of techniques of power that govern and optimize processes immanent to a population. In this field, discipline, government,
and sovereignty are imbricated and indistinguishable, so that the exception operates as a potential (dis)ordering principle, a
potential technique of government (Foucault 1991:102). For Agamben, the declaration of the state of exception has gradually been
replaced by an unprecedented generalization of the paradigm of security as the normal technique of government (Agamben

governmentalization of the structure of the exception forms a complex


topological figure in which not only the exception and the rule but also the state of
nature and law, outside and inside, pass through one another (Agamben 1998:37). As a
technique of government, then, the exception is never completely hidden, nor is
it purely manifested. The state of exception produces material effects, even when
it remains virtual. This poses an important question for geographers: how do we analyze the material effects of the virtual?
2005:14). This

If the topological character of the state of exception means that it operates at the edges of materiality, how should we make use of
Agamben's theories to understand the spatiality of the exception (and governmentality, for that matter)? We argue that

Agamben's limit case, the state of exception, is spatializing, not spatialized. When we say
that the exception is spatializing, we emphasize processes of transformation and emergence
(the topological) and fold the operation of spatialization into the field of potential .
The exception thus produces a governmental potential to link specific arrays of
discursive objects, procedures, and rationalities towards particular ends . Based on this
understanding of Agamben, which emphasizes the emergent spatialization of the exception rather than its determinate spaces, we
argue for foregrounding the idea of potentiality in geographical analyses of the
exceptional. Situated on the edge of materiality, the state of exception has the potential to materialize or not to materialize
actual spaces of exception. Potentiality, for Agamben, is the tension between actuality (materialization)
and the potential not to bethe faculty to say I can, without the action being
materialized (Agamben 1999:179). To have a faculty, argues Agamben, means to have a privation, ie the potential not to
be. This potentiality, argues Agamben, maintains itself in relation to actuality in the form of
its suspension; it is capable of the act in not realizing it, it is sovereignly capable of
its own im-potentiality (Agamben 1998:45). For example, in his discussion of sovereignty, Agamben poses
abandonment, the rationality of power that marks the exception, as topological in that it has the ability not to be: it is potential.

The exception is the zone of indistinction between constituting and constituted


power. The decision on the exception realizes itself by simply taking away its own
potentiality not to be, letting itself be (Agamben 1998:46). Topological space is therefore
not only emergent and governmental, but also always potential that is, both capable
of becoming and of not becoming. It is no coincidence that in the denouement of his essay On potentiality that
Agamben finds the root of freedom also within the abyss of potentiality (Agamben
1999:183). Agamben's political praxis is one of radical desubjectivation , a
desubjectification that refuses to be captured in a topological state of exception [a
synthesis between Walter Benjamin's divine violence (1996) and Gilles Deleuze's (2006)Immanence: a life ]. He writes, We
can say that

between immanence and a life there is a kind of crossing with neither

distance nor identification, something like a passage without spatial movement


(Agamben 1999:223). This passage without a spatial movement is a matrix of infinite
desubjectification (Agamben 1999:232). Absolute immanence (ie potential freedom) is a call for Benjamin's barbarians:
those law-destroying lives that cannot be captured in a sovereign's state of exception. It is a life whose
principle is infinite desubjectification, which cannot be abandoneda de-subject
that preempts the potential state of exception, and therefore cannot be striated into
the biopolitical subject of bare life, that succubus that haunts our political
landscape. Just as the subjective homo sacer is the material kernel for the sovereign exception, Agamben's radical
desubjectification is the material kernel for freedom . This praxis of Agamben's may be what Deleuze
once said was philosophy, nothing else but philosophy (cited in Ek 2006:363) in response to a question on the utility of A
Thousand Plateaus (Deleuze and Guattari 1980). This poses a challenge to geographers of how to produce knowledge and
geographical imaginaries that at once promote just political and intellectual projects and refuse to produce subjects that can be
captured.

2ac at: state of exception bad


Misreading --- our point is the duality of power feeds into itself
Prozorov 10 (Sergei Professor of Political and Economic Studies at the University
of Helsinki, Why Giorgio Agamben is an optimist, in Philosophy Social Criticism,
Volume 36, Number 9, p. 1056-1057, November 2010,
http://psc.sagepub.com/content/36/9/1053.abstract)
This totalized image of the global state of exception has been criticized as both hyperbolically
excessive and internally contradictory. Paul Passavant has argued that Agambens theory suffers from a contradictory concept of the

While Agamben is most famous for his


deconstruction of the logic of sovereignty that radicalizes Schmitts conception ,8 he
has also, from his earliest work onwards, confronted the more dispersed, governmentalized
modes of power relations characteristic of late capitalism in the manner highly
influenced by Guy Debords work on the society of the spectacle .9 Against the argument that this
state that also plagues his affirmative vision of the coming politics.7

conjunction of sovereignty and governmentality in the analysis of late-modern power relations constitutes a contradiction, we must

this duality of the contemporary apparatus of power is explicitly affirmed


by Agamben himself, who, similarly to Foucaults claim for the indissociability of sovereignty, discipline and
government,10 regularly insists that the system is always double .11 The inextricable link between the
two aspects of the contemporary social order consists in the nihilistic deployment of life itself as a (post-)historical task. Both
state sovereignty and the late-capitalist society of the spectacle are biopolitical and
thus permanently feed into each other. The contemporary neo-liberal governmentality extends the operation
recall that

of economic rationality to life itself, whereby life is conceived as a paradigmatic form of enterprise,12 and in this manner
expropriates the being-in-language that defines human existence and subjects it to the laws of exchange-value or, in Agambens
later works, exhibition value.13 Conversely, sovereign power expropriates the potentiality of human existence, transforming it into
the bare life that it then grounds itself in and applies itself to in the perpetual state of exception. The state does nothing more than
sustain the spectacle with its apparatuses of security, while the spectacle does nothing more than perpetually produce the degraded
forms-of-life that sovereign power can apply itself to.

2ac at: utopian/mwajeh 5


We are manifestly anti-utopian --- possibility for change is
always already present
Prozorov 10 (Sergei Professor of Political and Economic Studies at the University
of Helsinki, Why Giorgio Agamben is an optimist, in Philosophy Social Criticism,
Volume 36, Number 9, p. 1057, November 2010,
http://psc.sagepub.com/content/36/9/1053.abstract)
It is evident that the danger at issue in Agambens work is nihilism in its dual form of the sovereign ban and the capitalist spectacle.
If, as we have shown in the previous sec- tion, the reign of nihilism is general and complete, we may be optimistic about the possibility of jamming its entire apparatus since there is nothing in it that offers an alternative to the present double subjection. Yet,

It would be easy to misread Agamben


as an utterly utopian thinker, whose intentions may be good and whose
criticism of the present may be valid if exaggerated , but whose solutions
are completely implausible if not outright embarras- sing .23 Nonetheless, we
must rigorously distinguish Agambens approach from utopian- ism . As Foucault
has argued, utopias derive their attraction from their discursive structure of a
fabula, which makes it possible to describe in great detail a better way of life, precisely because it is manifestly impossible.24
where are we to draw resources for such a global transformation?

While utopian thought easily pro- vides us with elaborate visions of a better future, it cannot really lead us there, since its site is by

Agambens works tell us quite little about life in a


community of happy life that has done away with the state form , but are
remark- ably concrete about the practices that are constitutive of this
community, precisely because these practices require nothing that would
be extrinsic to the contemporary condition of biopolitical nihilism . Thus, Agambens
coming politics is manifestly anti-utopian and draws all its resources from
the condition of contemporary nihilism.
definition a non-place. In contrast,

This is offense against you --- an inability to imagine a


different world doesnt change its possiblity
Kelly 14 (Mark GE Senior Lecturer in Humanities at the University of Western
Sydney, Against prophecy and utopia: Foucault and the future, in Thesis Eleven,
Volume 120, Number 1, p. 112-113,
http://the.sagepub.com/content/120/1/104.full.pdf+html)
It might be said that such a position is itself utopian , positing a utopian vision of a world devoid of
utopianism, by which to condemn the present, predicting, without knowing it, that things will work better without utopianism.
Neither Foucault nor I do this, however. We offer no vision of how a world without utopianism might operate, no claim that it will lead

We only identify a certain form of practice existing in the


present that we advocate, over other practices in the present that I argue are
immanently self-contradictory. I make no claim about the dangers or lack thereof in non-utopian procedures, only
to any particular practical consequence.

that they avoid the specific dangers of utopianism and prophecy. Another possible line of objection is that anti-utopianism is

any positive political project


is attacked as utopian, which is to say as unrealistic. It is true that such criticisms are
widespread, but they are often incorrect. While there are utopianisms on the left, revolutionary
thought is not generically utopian. Revolution is compatible with my position, in the form of an immanent
associated today with reactionary politics. Alain Badiou (2001: 13) points out that today

revolution from below, in which the participants attend to and deal with the radically new and unforeseeable conditions as they

The critique that


castigates left-wing politics in general as utopian is the inverse of our critique of
emerge in a revolutionary situation. The point is to prevent revolution being utopian or prophetic.

utopianism. Where we claim that utopianism fails because it attempts to say how society should work, critiques of
left-wing thought as utopian tend to claim that left-wing positions are insufficiently
articulated, hence utopian because they cannot offer an alternative vision . We would
argue that utopianism is marked not by the absence of a utopian vision , but by its
presence. According to my argument, the inability to imagine how something would work is
no argument against its possibility, just as the ability to imagine how something
would work does not adequately demonstrate that it is actually possible ,
since the complexity of the social outstrips our ability to model society in our minds .
There is nothing utopian about saying that another world is possible , where this slogan is
raised without detailing what this world would look like. Badious own position is utterly non-utopian, because it is a matter of fidelity
to a truth event in the past that is neither about reviving the past situation nor aiming at producing any particular future situation.

it is
problematic to say that another world is not possible, that there is no alternative .
Such pronouncements are prophetic. The claim that communism is impossible has the same flaw
as the claim that communism is inevitable: we cannot know whether a determinate
form of social organization is either inevitable or impossible , possible or desirable, in
advance. Grand historical claims are prophetic, even if they are negative, like
Fukuyamas famous neo-Hegelian diagnosis of the end of history
Badious philosophy is one of profound openness which is inimical to utopianism as I have described it. Conversely, however,

2ac at: ojakangas 5


Ojakangas elides the intrinsic relation between caring for
living and adjudicating death
Dillon 5 (Michael Professor of Politics and International Relations at Lancaster
University, Cared to Death: The Political Time of Your Life, in Foucault Studies, No.
2, p. 37-38, May 2005, http://rauli.cbs.dk/index.php/foucaultstudies/article/viewFile/858/876)
The key point of dispute with Ojakangas concerns the self-immolating logic of
biopolitics. "Not bare life that is exposed to an unconditional threat of death," he says in the introduction to his paper, "but the
care of'all living' is the foundation of biopower." (emphasis in the original). Ojakangas says: "Foucault's biopower has nothing to do
with that [Agamben] kind of bare life." I agree. Foucault's biopolitics concerns an historically biologised life whose biologisation
continues to mutate as the life sciences themselves offer changing interpretations and technical determinations of life. This
biologised life of biopolitics nonetheless also raises the stake for Foucault of a life that is not a biologised life. So it does for
Agamben, but differently and in a different way. For Foucault, the biologised life of biopolitics also raises the issue of a life
threatened in supremely violent and novel ways. So it does for Agamben, but again differently and for the same complex of reasons.
In contesting Agamben in the ways that he does, Ojakangas marks an important difference, then, between Foucault and Agamben.
That done, perhaps the difference needs however to be both marked differently and interrogated differently. I have argued that
there is a certain betrayal in the way Agamben reworks Foucault. There is however much more going on in this 'betrayal' than
misconstruction and misinterpretation. There is a value in it. Exploring that value requires another ethic of reading in addition to that
of the exegesis required to mark it out. For Agamben's loathing of biopolitics is I think more 'true' to the burgeoning suspicion and
fear that progressively marked Foucault's reflections on it than Ojakangas' account can give credit for, since he concentrates on

In posing an intrinsic and unique


threat to life through the very ways in which it promotes , protects and invests life,
'care for all living' threatens life in its own distinctive ways . Massacres have
become vital. The threshold of modernity is reached when the life of the species is
wagered on its own (bio) political strategies. Biopolitics must and does recuperate
the death function. It does teach us how to punish and who to kill. Power over life
must adjudicate punishment and death as it distributes live across terrains of value
that the life sciences constantly revise in the cause of life's very promotion . It has to.
That is also why we now have a biopolitics gone geopolitically global in
humanitarian wars of intervention and martial doctrines of virtuous war. Here, also,
providing the exegetical audit required to mark it out rather than evaluate it.

is the reason why the modernising developmental politics of biopolitics go racist: "So you can understand the importance - I almost
said the vital importance - of racism to such an exercise of power." In racism, Foucault insists: "We are dealing with a mechanism
that allows biopower to work." But: "The specificity of modern racism, or what gives it its specificity, is not bound up with

In thus
threatening life, biopolitics prompts a revision of the question of life and especially
of the life of a politics that is not exhaustively biologised ; comprehensively subject to biopolitical
mentalities, ideologies or the lies of power. It is bound up with the techniques of power, with the technology of power."

governance in such a way that life shows up as nothing but the material required for biopolitical governance, whether in terms

Emphasising care for all living - the promotion, protection and


investment of the life of individuals and populations - elides the issue of being cared
to death. Being cared to death poses the issue of the life that is presupposed ,
posed by Foucault or Agamben.

nomologically for Agamben and biologically for Foucault, in biopolitics. Each foregrounds the self-immolating logic that ineluctably
applies in a politics of life that understands life biologically, in the way that Foucault documents for us, or nomologically, in the way

Ojakangas seems
threatens to elide the
intrinsic violence of biopolitics and its essential relation with correction and
death.
that Agamben's bare life contends. When recalling the significance of the Christian pastorate to biopolitics,
to emphasize a line of succession rather than of radical dissociation. One, moreover, which

If life is a production of biopolitics it is circular to claim


biopolitics saves lives
Dillon 5 (Michael Professor of Politics and International Relations at Lancaster
University, Cared to Death: The Political Time of Your Life, in Foucault Studies, No.
2, p. 37-38, May 2005, http://rauli.cbs.dk/index.php/foucaultstudies/article/viewFile/858/876)
The nomological concerns the law, the biological concerns 'life' and the theological concerns the relation of life to transcendence in
the form of divinity. At a philosophical level, the life of politics may be said to find its bearings in relation to the changing
interpretations and correlations of force that characterise the intimate relationality of this trinity of nomos, bios and theos.
Agamben takes Foucault's account of biopolitics away from history and relocates it back in the centre of these key determinants of
political philosophy. Whereas Agamben's nomological account of biopolitical violence threatens a certain kind of political paralysis,

Ojakangas' insistence on the productivity of


biopolitics threatens to elide the violent inner logic of biopolitics and to miss what
Agamben's nomologically driven ontologisation nonetheless does rigorously expose.
Incomparably the most interesting thinker thinking today, one of the things that Agamben is thinking in
response to the provocations of biopolitics is the question of life undetermined by
the life of biopolitics, a life elevated in addition by a refiguration of transcendence without a godhead, in the form
of the immanence of the messianic. He also thinks the facticity of a corporeality beyond the reduction of the
however, in as much as it ontologises that violence,

body to biology. It is in these moves, among others, that he thinks beyond the initial provocation to political thought that he takes
from Foucault's biopolitics. Like any such response, the issue becomes less the degree of faithlessness than the worth of the
betrayal.

Death is a function of biopolitics --- it must eliminate the


threat to life
Dillon 5 (Michael Professor of Politics and International Relations at Lancaster
University, Cared to Death: The Political Time of Your Life, in Foucault Studies, No.
2, p. 37-38, May 2005, http://rauli.cbs.dk/index.php/foucaultstudies/article/viewFile/858/876)
in the biopolitical context of the circulation of life as species being , Foucault says
death is not so much disqualified, but, "something to be hidden away." It loses that spectacular ritual character
it once had, marking the move from one power, that of secular sovereignty, to another power, that of a sovereign God. Death
does not disappear from biopolitics . Neither is it attenuated beyond political concern, quite the contrary. It
Moreover,

changes its character, undergoing political transformation as biopolitics re-inscribes death in the process of 'recuperating the death

Whereas no power can ultimately exercise power over death , biopower can
and does exercise power over life. One of the means by which it does so is via the biopolitical preoccupations
with mortality, morbidity, pathology and mutation. Concerned with death in terms of the vital signs of
life, biopolitics is also increasingly concerned these days with the re-inscription of
the vital signs of life in terms of code , both molecular and digital. Contra Ojakangas, then, biopolitics
does reclaim the death function, for a number of reasons and in a variety of changing ways. It must do so.
Reclaiming the death function is integral to its logic . It also reflects the changing operational dynamics
of biopolitics. In relation to biopolitical logic: "In the biopower system... killing , or the imperative to
kill, is acceptable only if it results not in a victory over political adversaries, but in the
elimination of the biological threat to and the improvement of the species or race ." It
function'.

is acceptable and biopolitically necessary to kill, if not necessarily in the nomological sense of being exposed to death formulated in
Agamben's thesis of bare life. In relation to the operationalisation of biopolitics: if biopolitics is to promote, protect and invest life, it

This continuous biopolitical assaying of life proceeds


through the epistemically driven and continuously changing interrogation of the
worth and eligibility of the living across a terrain of value that is constantly
must engage in a continuous assay of life.

changing. It is changing now, for example, in response to what the life sciences are teaching about what it is to be a living
thing. It is changing as biopolitical investment analysts (politicians, risk analysts, governmental technologisers) also interrogate
where the best returns on life investment happen to be located in the manifold circulation and transformation of life locally and
globally. Life itself mutates in and through these very circuits, not least in relation to molecular biology and electronic
communication. We can broadly interpret life science now to range from molecularised biology, through digitalization, to the new
social and managerial sciences of development now prominent in the fields of global governmentality, global development policies,
human security and even military strategic discourse including, for example, 'Operations Other than War".

2ac framework/topicality

2ac binary da
The binary established by the AFF to differentiate between
who is and isnt the USFG is a biopolitical method of creating
an included class and an excluded class and reduces us to
bare-life
Agamben 2k (Giorgio Ph.D., Baruch Spinoza Chair at the European Graduate
School, Professor of Aesthetics at the University of Verona, Italy, Professor of
Philosophy at Collge International de Philosophie in Paris, and at the University of
Macerata in Italy, Means without Ends: Notes on Politics, p. 30.1)
Any interpretation of the political meaning of the term people ought to
start from the peculiar fact that in modern European languages this term always indicates
also the poor, the underprivileged, and the excluded. The same term names
the constitutive political subject as well as the class that is excluded de facto,
if not de jure from politics. The Italian term popolo, the French term people, and the Spanish term pueblo along with the
corresponding adjectives popolare, populaire, popular and the late-Latin terms populus and popularis from which they all derive,
designate in common parlance and in the political lexicon alike the whole of the citizenry as a unitary body politic (as in the Italian
people or in giudice popolare [juryman] as well as those who belong to inferior class (as in homme du peuple [man of the people],
rione polplare [working-class neighborhood], front populaire is more undifferentiated does retain the meaning of ordinary people

In the American Constitution one thus reads


without any sort of distinction: We, the people of the United States ;
but when Lincoln in the Gettysburg Address invokes a government of the
people, by the people, for the people, the repetition implicitly sets
another people against the first. The extent to which such an ambiguity was
essential even during the French Revolution (that is, at the very moment in which peoples sovereignty
as opposed to the rich and the aristocracy.

was claimed as a principle) is witnessed by the decisive role played in it by a sense of compassion for the people intended as the
excluded class. Hannah Arendt reminds us that:

The very definition of the word was born out of

compassion, and the term became the equivalent for misfortune and unhappiness le peule, les malbeureux
mapplaudissent, as Robespierre was wont to say; le peuple toujours malbeureux, as even Sieyes, one of the least sentimental and
most sober figures of the Revolution, would put it. But this is already a double concept for Jean Boldin albeit in a different sense
in the chapter of Les Six Livres de la Republique in which he defines Democracy or Etat Popular: while the menu peuple is that which

Such a widespread
and constant semantic ambiguity cannot be accidental: it surely reflects
an ambiguity inherent in the nature and function of the concept of people
in Western politics. It is as if, in other words what we call people was not actually a
unitary subject but rather a dialectical oscillation between two opposite
poles: on the one hand, the People as a whole and as an integral body
politic and, on the other hand, the people as a subset and as a
fragmentary multiplicity of needy and excluded bodies; on the one hand,
an inclusive concept that pretends to be without remainder while, on the
other hand, an exclusive concept known to afford no hope; at one pole,
the total state of the sovereign and integrated citizens and, at the other
pole, the banishment either court of miracles or camp of the wretched, the oppressed, or the
vanquished. There exists no single and compact referent for the term people
anywhere: like many fundamental political concepts (which, in this respect, are similar to Abel and Frueds Urworte or to
is wise to exclude from political power, the peuple en corps is intended as entitled to sovereignty.

Dumonts hierarchal relations), people is a polar concept that indicates a double movement and a complex relationship between two

This also means, however, that the constitution of the human


species into a body politic comes into being through a fundamental split and
extremes.

that in the concept of people we can easily recognize the conceptual pair identified earlier as the defining category of the original

naked life (people) and political existence (People), exclusion


and inclusion, zoe and bios. The concept of people always already contains
within itself the fundamental biopolitical fracture . It is what cannot in included in the whole of
political structure:

which it is a part as well what cannot belong to the whole in which it is always already include.

2ac surveillance da
Framework is a strategy of cultivating dispassionate subjects
who surveil and disclipline one another
Reeves 13 (Joshua Assistant Professor in Communication at the University of
Memphis, If You See Something, Say Something: Surveillance, Communication and
Citizenship in American Life, A dissertation submitted to the Graduate Faculty of
North Carolina State University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the
degree of Doctor of Philosophy, 2013, p. 24-25,
http://repository.lib.ncsu.edu/ir/bitstream/1840.16/8762/1/etd.pdf)
An essential facet of the governmental process, then, is the set of actions by which
various phenomena are representedin other words, how they are rendered intelligible as problems to be
governed. Describing how rhetoric functions in the production of knowledge and thus makes possible governmental activities,

Greene points out that rhetoric allows for a governing apparatus to make
judgments about what it should govern , how it should govern, as well as offering
mechanisms for evaluating the success or failure of governing (1998, 22). Once human
tendencies and behaviors are given a stable life in the form of discourse (data, statistics,
diagnoses, expert opinions, etc.), their relationship to ideal or deduced norms can be addressed by
various interventionsthat is, by technologies of governmental correction. As Miller and Rose have
Ronald

pointed out elsewhere, these technologies of government are characterized by the complex of mundane programmes, calculations,
techniques, apparatuses, documents and procedures through which authorities seek to embody and give effect to governmental
ambitions (Rose and Miller 1992). As an instrument of representation, rhetoric takes form in discoursesincluding scientific articles,
police reports, and 9/11 calls reporting suspicious activitiesand thus sets in motion various governmental responses by health

rhetoric has been


envisioned as one of many possible governmental strategies to persuade individuals
to conduct their lives in accord with various norms of morality and responsibility. For example, as I will
officials, police agencies, non-profit organizations, and so on. Yet as an instrument of intervention,

show in chapter four, public address has long been used to enlist moral crusaders in the temperance cause, as preachers,
politicians, and others have encouraged individuals to police the immoral in their midst. Various other forms of deliberative rhetoric
such as publicly distributed pamphlets and one-on-one conversion effortshave played a similar role in constituting activist

rhetorical
strategies, such as public confrontations and violent attacks, have also been employed to discourage
certain disapproved activities and intimidate the offending individuals into changing
their behavior. In many instances, these two rhetorical stylesone liberal, and the other confrontationalcreate tensions
communities and guiding the moral entrepreneurialism of individuals in various sectors of the public. Other

among and within lateral policing institutions. As I show in chapters four and five, these different forms of being-rhetorical are often
a bone of contention within lateral policing groups, as factions disagree on rhetorical strategy. Immigration policing groups, for
example, have long been divided into factions of liberals and vigilantes, with the liberals insisting on surveillance and contacting

This division
demonstrates how deeply invested governing bodies are in cultivating certain
kinds of rhetorical subjects, and thus how different forms of being-rhetorical are
privileged within different configurations of governmental practice . In seeking to transform and
official law enforcement bodies, whereas vigilantes have arrested and abused immigrants and their enablers.

engage the conduct of certain activist sectors of the population, some groups have sought to cultivate patient, liberal, non-violent
rhetorical subjects who use reasoning to persuade others to change their lives and their communities (see Keith 2008); other groups
have encouraged activists to adopt the rhetorical subjectivity of the ax-wielding puritan who threatens pimps and saloon keepers

other campaigns have sought to create the neighborhood


snitch, the rhetorical subject who closely watches his or her neighbors and dials 91-1 to report any suspicious activity .
while destroying their wares; and yet

Case turns framework --- it cultivates bare speech or the


depoliticized discourse of sovereign power
Reeves 13 (Joshua Assistant Professor in Communication at the University of
Memphis, If You See Something, Say Something: Surveillance, Communication and

Citizenship in American Life, A dissertation submitted to the Graduate Faculty of


North Carolina State University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the
degree of Doctor of Philosophy, 2013, p. 28-32,
http://repository.lib.ncsu.edu/ir/bitstream/1840.16/8762/1/etd.pdf)
Governing through communicative performance is a central element in the
production of liberal citizen-subjects. As Greene and Daryl Hicks have argued, a Foucaultian
perspective on communicative production reveals how power works productively by augmenting the
human capacity for speech/communication. . . . [An] under-appreciated aspect of the productive power of
cultural governance resides in the generation of subjects who come to understand themselves as
speaking subjects willing to regulate and transform their communicative behaviors
for the purpose of improving their political, economic, cultural, and affective relationships (2005, 101). Greene and Hicks point out

the values of deliberative communication comprise an essential aspect of liberal


subject production. The authors analyze switch-side debating as a cultural technology of
liberal self-governance whereby speakers learn socially conservative values of
deracinated, liberal impartiality through disimpassioned rhetorical practice . By placing the
that

rise of switch-side debating within the Cold War, Greene and Hicks show how liberal American values of deliberation and empathy
were inculcated specifically as they contrasted with the autocratic values of the Soviet Union. While deliberation, citizen liberty, and
communicative entrepreneurship were purported to dominate the American cultural imagination, the Soviet Union was a place of
coercion and severe intellectual homogeneity. Relatedly, the various techn and programs of liberal government strive to cultivate
values of deliberation and communication instead of radicality and violence (see Oksala 2011). This is an important aspect of the
regime- and status quo-conserving inertia of contemporary liberal governmentality. However, while liberal citizenship is quite clearly
tied to these deliberative-communicative democratic values, the cultural logic that opposes violence with communication far
predates liberal government. Since Plato, in fact, we have often heard that philosophy is violences other. From Kant and Hegel to
Marx and Girard, and into the present with American liberals like Richard Rorty, we have come to define the philosophers task as
distinct from the rash violence of the politicians, generals, and revolutionaries (see Siebers 1998, 11530). At the level of
philosophical praxis, it must be kept in mind that discourse, of course, is the traditional medium and method of philosophy: to do
philosophy simply means to be-rhetorical about philosophy. Philosophy, in other words, is the coming-into-speech of a particular kind
of discourse. I say this not to colonize philosophy under the rubric of communication or rhetorica position I do not advocatebut
instead to illustrate how being-rhetorical, how being a speaking subject, is positioned against other ways of being, in the same way
that being philosophical has long been contrasted and defined vis--vis its competing ways of being-in-the-world. In other words,
being-rhetorical has frequently been endowed with certain political and social value, particularly as rhetorical practices contrast with
other ways of being-with-others. The speaking subject is thus a subject who speaks instead of carrying out other actsthe subject
who gives a stump speech instead of starting a riot; the subject who participates in an after-school debate program instead of selling
drugs or playing football; the subject who negotiates with his boss rather than tossing a Molotov cocktail through his or her shop
window; the wise, mild-mannered subject of today who settles disputes with his mind and mouth instead of with his fists. Let us say,
then, that at a certain level of praxis communication is violences other. It is this relationship to violence, in fact, that provides
communication/rhetoric with much of its cultural currency. We might consider the oft-bemoaned factoft-bemoaned in rhetorics
disciplinary circles, that isthat in public discourse mere rhetoric is often contrasted with action. A recent editorial in The Hill by
Kentucky US Senator Mitch McConnell regurgitated its variation on this theme: Job Creators Need Action, Not Rhetoric (McConnell
2011). While many communication and rhetoric scholars would be annoyed to see one of their colleagues repeat this nave
dichotomization, I would like to put aside the ontological status of rhetorical action for a moment in order to point out the rather
obvious fact that speechas a prominent cultural practicepossesses within our liberal democracy a special status among political
activities. One of the prerequisites of productive democratic citizenship is practicing speech rather than violencewe must discuss

As the motto of an Atlanta-based urban debate league


whose primary purpose is to enhance urban middle and high school students
potential by pulling them into debate programs and away from street and gang life
says so succinctly, Words, Not Weapons. So while the firm ontological distinction
between communicative and violent action is certainly suspect , their polarization in
the realm of liberal democratic values is clear: urban debate leagues, of course, are only one example of
rather than dismantle, we must speak rather than shoot.

how public and private institutions conspire to produce speaking subjects that eschew personal and political violence. However, this
divide between rhetoric and violence is not exclusive to contemporary liberal democracies. In fact, in an important sense this
contrast lies at the heart of rhetorical thinking throughout its history. For George Kennedy, rhetoric is not primarily a public activity
that developed in and around the democratic institutions of classical Greece; rather, it is a biological capacity that has been
hardwired into animals genetic makeup throughout most of our evolution on this planet. Kennedy offers the example of male red
deer stags competing for the attention of potential mates. Although the stags possess deadly antlers, they do not immediately
resort to physical fighting: instead, they approach one another and howl, attempting to intimidate the other into departing the
scene. This serves as a fight-orflight ritual in which the stags attempt to settle their differences with rhetoric rather than violence.
For Kennedy, We share a deep natural rhetoric (1998, 13) that finds expression in the stags posturing, a rhetoric that is deep
in the sense that it provides an evolutionary advantage to communities whose members attempt to persuade rather than devour
one another: it seems clear that nature has encouraged the evolution of rhetorical communication as a substitute for physical

This dichotomization of rhetoric and violence functions toward the


ongoing construction of the non-violent liberal subject . As Megan Foley (2013) has argued, we find
encounters (14).

precedents for this in classical Greek democratic and rhetorical theory: Lysias and Isocrates, for example, claimed that men
distinguished themselves from wild beasts through civic persuasion. Yet this old rationality of rhetorical practice has assumed a
different significance as the rhetoric/violence dichotomy has come to form a core element of the liberal political project. Contra the
democratic portrait that Lysias and Isocrates paint of rhetoric/violence in classical Greece, rhetoric is no longer solely or primarily

in advanced liberalism the


bare practice of speech has in many cases reached its depoliticized , biopolitical
nadir. That is to say, the material practice of discourse production has become a value in
itself, not as a correlate or condition of civic persuasion , but purely as the other of
violence. Liberal citizens are speaking subjects , not violent ones; as such, in their everyday
conduct they are governed to carry out various discursive practices as an
alternative to physical violence. This is perhaps best exemplified in the governance
of neighborhood watch volunteers who, perhaps more than any other citizens today, are charged
with the ambivalent duty of carrying out a traditionally violent taska task, moreover, that
often directly confronts the violence of othersby strictly nonviolent means . Watch volunteers are
governed to carry out the traditional surveillance duties of the police, but rather
than carrying out the polices exclusive violent privileges such as apprehending, arresting, pepper
valued as a means of civic persuasion that is preferable to violent coercion. Rather,

spraying, tazing, shooting, or otherwise incapacitating suspectsthey are given the task of calling 9-1-1, providing standard details,

Their speech, therefore, is not valuable as a means of enlivening democratic practice,


but merely as a material reinscription of the barrier between violent sovereign
privilege and the speaking liberal subject (see chapter five).
filing reports, testifying, and so forth.

The NEGs ideal rhetorical citizen is that of the communicativesurveillant officer who polices discourse
Reeves 13 (Joshua Assistant Professor in Communication at the University of
Memphis, If You See Something, Say Something: Surveillance, Communication and
Citizenship in American Life, A dissertation submitted to the Graduate Faculty of
North Carolina State University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the
degree of Doctor of Philosophy, 2013, p. 168-172,
http://repository.lib.ncsu.edu/ir/bitstream/1840.16/8762/1/etd.pdf)
The moral and legal codes that constrain neighborhood watch today arise from a
peculiar historical juncture in which centuries of community-based policing tradition
is being transformed by relatively recent evolutions in sovereign privilege. Upon the
foundation of these tensions, certain actions are deemed morally and legally responsible acts
of citizenship while others are seen as threats to the social order . Surveillance and
communication are the privileged activities of todays neighborhood watch
volunteersa stark contrast, no doubt, from the days of watch-and-ward patrols and vigilante justice that characterized
policing during the colonial era and the settling of the western frontier. Until the early nineteenth century in the eastern United
States, most communities organized compulsory watch-andward policing patrols that were manned entirely by volunteers; and in
the Wild West and the vigilante South, of course, citizen justice prevailed throughout much of the nineteenth century, until
Wanted: Dead or Alive was transformed into Armed and Dangerous: Do Not ApproachContact Authorities Immediately.

As

sovereign governance spread unevenly throughout the territories of the US , it


asserted its right to a monopoly on violence , thereby transforming the practices of community justice that
citizens had historically enjoyed vis--vis their neighbors. This sovereign intervention spawned a shift in
the legitimate activities of lateral policing actors . While to enforce the law
professional police patrols still relied on the eyes , ears, and mouths of community
members, these community members would have to be governed toward a new
ideal of rhetorical citizenship. They were to fulfill this citizenship not through the capture and judgment of

suspects, but instead by watching their neighborhoods and producing highly circumscribed statements about their activities to law
enforcement authorities. The duties of the citizen-officerwho for centuries had manned every level of law enforcement and
criminal investigationwere integrated into this new governmental arrangement based upon what Foucault calls the formidable
rights of the sovereign (1977, 47), characterized above all by the sovereigns claim to the exclusive privileges of violence. As Kevin
Stenson has argued, a major task of the state police [is] to uphold the power of juridical authority, which remains the cement
binding governmental strategies together. It also involves the task of regulating the shifting boundaries between legitimate
community initiatives and illegitimate vigilanteism (1993, 385). As a result, the public at largeand particularly lateral policing
volunteers, such as those active in Neighborhood Watchhave been endowed with new responsibilities as specifically rhetorical

This
cultivation of rhetorical citizenshipwhich reinscribes the citizen officers zone of
practice within the bounds of the communicative-surveillantis a rather
straightforward illustration of the governmental mechanisms that the liberal order
requires in order to keep civil society civil (see Hay and Andrejevic 2006, 335). Primarily, this chapter gives
subjects: their new duties include reporting suspicious activities, calling 9/11, filing police reports, and so on.

an answer to Ronald Greenes (2009) challenge to theorize the conditions that give rise to special modalities of rhetorical

While Greenes analysis is basically confined to the training of the traditional


subjects of rhetorical productionsuch as debaters and oratorsI propose to push this
one step further: evolutions of governance give rise to diverse modalities of the
speaking subject. In our current political juncturein which neoliberal trends in selfempowerment are promoted as the answer to decreased and reoriented public
servicescrime control has come to increasingly rely on citizens communicativesurveillant capacities. Yet this involves paring down citizens speech power to its
barest mechanical utility, on depoliticizing the domain of speech such that it can
circulate only within the narrowest possible parameters of information sharing.
citizenship.

Protocols, commands, and anonymizing technologies dominate these citizen-officers speech experience, as they carry out the data
storage, processing, and transmission functions inherent to their mission as the eyes and ears of the neoliberal police apparatus. In

the paradigm of modern political conflict


is the distinction between what life is bios and what life is zoon . To recall the discussion from
chapter two, Agamben writes that bios characterizes the speaking subject of public and political
life, drawing from Aristotles (1984, 1.7.1098a 18) classic description of man as the zoon logon echonthe animal who has
speech/logos and is therefore fit for bios politicos. Zoon, however, is that form of speechless life that lies
outside the political space of public culture . As Agamben makes clear, this distinctionwhich for Aristotle
this chapter, I would like to keep in mind Agambens argument that

marked the ontological rift between humans and other animalshas given rise to divisions within human communities, as

certain individuals speech is deprived of its political potential . Moreover, as


Agamben argues, the supreme ambition of biopower is to produce, in a human body, the absolute separation of the living being
and the speaking being, zo and bios, the inhuman and the human (1999, 156).29 The distinction between zoon and bios, then,
also applies to a divide within an individual subject, whose bare-biological capacities can be cultivated in the temporary articulation

This phenomenon is particularly clear in the


responsibilization of Neighborhood Watchs citizen-officers, whose speech is radically depoliticized and transformed into a basic , biological phenomenon distinct from the public
discourse of a zoon legon echon. All of the citizen-officers expressions are tightly regimented and controlled: dialing 9-11, reporting suspicious activities, filing police reports, and so forth are all rhetorical activities that have been
stripped to their barest data-processing functionthe US Department of Transportation even maintains a website
with a protocol for dialing 9-1-1.30 Thus under the guise of self- empowerment and community
safety, citizens are transformed into the bare eyes, ears, and mouths of their
societys security apparatuses. Inasmuch as they are allowed to participate in their communitys security, they are
of a particular governmental apparatus.

biological resources valuable primarily as basic sensory extensions of police agencies. Deployed along a different governmental
apparatus than Greenes citizen-orators, these bare rhetorical subjects are, as we might say, a quite different animal. This chapter
will provide a historical overview of neighborhood-watch policingthat is, of policing that involves the energies and responsibilities
of local citizens rather than a sovereign professional police force. Then I describe the evolution from bounty justicein which
citizens were empowered to return suspects dead or aliveto the emergence of an exceptional sovereign power that demands for
itself the sole right to violence in law enforcement. At this stage the responsibilities of the citizen-officer shift: while still encouraged

the citizen-officer is provided with a mandate to carry out


surveillance on ones peers, and then to communicate suspicions to police officials. What we see, then, is
the rise of a special modality of rhetorical citizenship the speaking subject who,
to participate in the policing apparatus,

now fulfills
his or her citizenship through rituals of surveillance and circumscribed
communication. Once oriented toward ideals of community protection and justicehowever flawed these ideals and
deprived by the sovereign of his or her traditional means of community-based justice and law enforcement,

their expressions might have beenthis citizen-officer now finds him or herself articulated to a governing apparatus that produces
very circumscribed acts of surveillance and discourse production.

2ac preemption da
Framework is a pre-emptive attempt to constrain and deter
different modes of rhetorical being
Reeves 13 (Joshua Assistant Professor in Communication at the University of
Memphis, If You See Something, Say Something: Surveillance, Communication and
Citizenship in American Life, A dissertation submitted to the Graduate Faculty of
North Carolina State University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the
degree of Doctor of Philosophy, 2013, p. 207-210,
http://repository.lib.ncsu.edu/ir/bitstream/1840.16/8762/1/etd.pdf)
as Massumi observes, in the age of terror enemy epistemology has acquired a
new animating principle, as this logic of deterrence has been challenged and
complemented by a logic of preemption. For Massumi, this preemptive logic has a number of things in
Yet

common with deterrence: most importantly, they are both fueled by the unknown futurity of an imminent threat. Their primary
difference, however, is that the enemy epistemology of preemption is unabashedly one of uncertainty, and not due to a simple lack
of knowledge. There is uncertainty because the threat has not only not yet fully formed but . . . it has not yet even emerged. In other
words, the threat is still indeterminately in potential. This is an ontological premise: the nature of threat cannot be specified. It might
in some circumstances involve weapons of mass destruction, but in others it will not (13). The enemy, moreover, has become
unspecifiable: It might come from without, or rise up unexpectedly from within. You might expect the enemy to be a member of a
certain ethnic or religious group, an Arab or a Moslem, but you can never be sure. It might turn out be a white Briton wearing
sneakers, or a Puerto Rican from the heartland of America . . . . The situation is objectively one in which the only certainty is that
threat will emerge where it is least expected. This is because what is ever-present is not a particular threat or set of threats, but the
potential for still more threats to emerge without warning . . . . We are in a world that has passed from . . . the "known unknown"
(uncertainty that can be analyzed and identified) to the "unknown unknown" (objective uncertainty). (2007 13)

As the

enemy shifts from the known-unknowni.e., an enemy that can be addressed by traditional methods of risk
assessmentto the unknown unknown i.e., an enemy that can be anyone and anywhere, and which can never be
expunged because it exists only as a deferred, looming spontaneitythis epistemological shift becomes
palpable in evolving forms of governmental praxis . This strategy is especially visible
in the See Something, Say Something campaign and other domestic antiterrorism initiatives. The primary
public service announcement released by the See Something, Say Something campaign provides an excellent example of how
these discourses of categorical suspicion (see Marx 1988, 227) circulate in federal outreach materials (see also Docobo 2006). The
pedagogical voice that narrates this tenminute videowhich was released in a nationwide outreach campaign in 2011begins by
encouraging citizens to report activities that exceed their faculties of interpretation: Its not easy to put all the pieces [of an
unfolding terrorist threat] together, and we dont expect you to. Thats the job of law enforcement and intelligence analysts. But
homeland security is a shared effort and responsibility for each of us. When you see things that just dont seem right, that seem
somehow out of the ordinary, reporting what youve observed can be invaluable to the work of law enforcement and intelligence
analysts in this shared effort. Acts of terrorism against the United States can be large or small (USHomelandSecurity 2011a).

Citizens are thus encouraged to report unusual activities large and smallthat
defy their expectations of the ordinary . Illustrating a number of these ostensibly unusual, terroristsignifying
activities, the video presents a European-American man who appears to be in his late teens recording video under an overpass. The
video informs citizens that, before they strike, many terrorists watch and study their targets. The video then lists a number of
supposedly suspicious situations that warrant contacting authorities: warning that terrorists gather information, the scene shifts to
an outdoors caf, where a young, blonde EuropeanAmerican woman is speaking to a cop. According to the video, potential terrorists
also test security (a middle-aged African-American man in a red sweatshirt leaves something in his pocket as he goes through
airport security); acquire funds and supplies, often through criminal activities (two white vans are parked next to each other, as
two men transfer barely visible items between the vans); and rehearse their plans (a middle-aged EuropeanAmerican woman
leaves her purse under a bench in a bus station). After this lesson in the semiotics of terror, the narrator instructs the viewer, Any of
what we call these precursor activities might be observable and reportable by a vigilant member of the public. You are in the best

Operating on a
logic of preemption, virtually anything can be a precursor to terrorist acts as the video
position to spot these precursor activities as you go about your everyday activities in your community.

shows, taking photographs and speaking with cops can be precursor activities; and now, since the Boston Marathon attacks, walking
across a college apartment complex with a pressure cooker has become a precursor activity that warrants the scrutiny of vigilant

The videos narrator then reminds us of the preemptive logic that


governs antiterrorist outreach strategy: after fostering ambiguity under the guise of a boilerplate antidiscrimination statement, the video instructs the viewer how to respond to suspicious
activities: its important to carefully consider what you observe. Reporting suspicious activity should not
members of the public.

be based on a persons race, religion, or gender, but rather on behaviors that seem
suspicious . . . . So if you see something that just isnt right, report your observations to your state or local authorities
(2011a). While this assertion is standard politically correct fare, it should be identified within the larger trend toward governing
through ambiguity. While the logic of deterrence spawned knowledge-building enterprises aimed at understanding, containing, and
outsmarting the enemy, the logic of preemption is rooted in a more ambivalent epistemology: it is faced with the relative futility of

while risk assessment practices remain an essential


practice of preemption, they are complemented by specialized forms of citizen
mobilization whose primary utility is not the generation of practicable knowledge. As the
establishing the truth of the terrorist enemy. Thus

video reminds us, Homeland security starts with hometown security, and we all have a role to play. Working together, we can all

By cultivating this sense of civic duty,


and by mobilizing citizens to operate within its appropriate realms of
communicative-surveillant practice, DHS and allied authorities provide citizens with
meaningful ways to go kinetic in the War on Terror .
help secure our country. If you see something, say something (2011a).

at: voluntary
Biometric surveillance is not something you can opt out of --its involuntary
Das 14 (Ravi owns a biometrics consultancy firm (Apollo Biometrics) based in
Chicago, Illinois, An Introduction to Biometrics, in Biometric Technology:
Authentication, Biocryptography, and Cloud-Based Architecture, p. 47)
The form of biometric technology that has been widely used with these types of surveillance activities has been and
continues to be facial recognition. Obviously, with surveillance, you want a contactless form of biometric
technology to be usedwhich is why facial recognition is the popular choice. Another biometric technology that can
be potentially used in surveil lance applications is iris recognition. It is also non-contact, and with the recent
advancements in iris recognition technology, iris images can be captured of people on the move and at even further
distances. Finally, another potential biometric technology that can be used for surveillance activities and which is

gait recognition, i.e., the actual verification and identification


these
biometric technologies just mentioned do not require a cooperative subject because
the most widely used surveillance activity is that of covert operations . However, despite
still under heavy research and devel opment is

of an individual is based upon how they walk or their unique stride. A key point to be made here is that

the advantages that these biometric technologies offer to a particular type of surveillance application, all
surveillance activities suffer from a number of limitations, which are as follows:

More evidence --- biometric identification is not a choice


Liu 13 (Nancy Yue Shanghai University of Political Science and Law, Ph.D. in IT law
from the University of Oslo and an LL.M. in IT law from Stockholm University, 5.
Biometrics and privacy protection in the United States, in Bio-Privacy: Privacy
Regulations and the Challenge of Biometrics, Routledge, 2013, p. 176)
Hence, where the Fourth Amendment is concerned, the court needs to assess whether the individual had the ability
to choose to refuse such invention. Put simply, the justification of the stop hinges on the consent of the
individual. If the individual is notified and given the possibility to accept or refuse such inquiry, there is no Fourth
Amendment violation. This idea is in accordance with most other privacy legislation, such as the European Data
Protection Directive 95/46/ EC and the Australian Privacy Act 1988.,,u The slight difference is that in US case
analysis there is no clear requirement ofnotice, which means the government is not required to tell individuals
about their right to decline; as long as the individual is not prohibited from asserting his right to terminate the
search, the intervention may be justified. The same analysis applies for biometric technology. The government

in most
occasions when biometric identification or authentication is used , individuals are
not given any choice. This renders this justification irrelevant to most biometric applications.
could seek to justify its intervention into individual privacy by initiating a voluntary program. However,

2ac Ks

2ac derrida
Derrida only highlights the undecidability at the heart of the
law which doesnt affect it
Prozorov 10 (Sergei Professor of Political and Economic Studies at the University
of Helsinki, Why Giorgio Agamben is an optimist, in Philosophy Social Criticism,
Volume 36, Number 9, p. 1059-1060, November 2010,
http://psc.sagepub.com/content/36/9/1053.abstract)
Yet, how can this claim about the mutual reinforcement of the sovereign state and the society of the spectacle under the aegis of
biopolitical nihilism ground any optimistic disposition? It is precisely this totalized image that allows Agamben to claim that in the

Agamben refuses
both the possibility of reforming or even revolutionizing social life by re-engaging
with sovereignty, e.g. through the political struggle for hegemony along the lines of
Laclaus populism or the Habermasian formation of a more inclusive political
community through communicative action . Neither is there any point in a Derridean
deconstructive subversion of sovereignty in the name of the undeconstruc- tible
justice and democracy to come, which serves only to highlight the
undecidability at the heart of the law, which is essential to the latters existence.15 Since the
state of anomie is the constitutive outside of any nomos, it is bound to remain
inscribed within it irrespectively of the way the positive structure of order is
transformed. The state of exception and its product, the bare life of homo sacer, are
not a political problem to be resolved within any positive system, but rather a problem of the political itself .16
contemporary situation there is nothing to lose from a total halting of the machine.14 On the one hand,

Any search for a more effective, exception-proof positive order is entirely in vain, especially in todays condition of nihilism, in
which the vacuity of historical forms-of-life has brought the sovereign ban to the foreground as the sole substance of politics.

2ac hardt & negri


The society of the spectacle ensures zero solvency
Prozorov 10 (Sergei Professor of Political and Economic Studies at the University
of Helsinki, Why Giorgio Agamben is an optimist, in Philosophy Social Criticism,
Volume 36, Number 9, p. 1059-1060, November 2010,
http://psc.sagepub.com/content/36/9/1053.abstract)
Agamben considers it impossible to confront the logic of sover-eignty
from the terrain of the social, which is the strategy, for example, of Michael Hardt and Antonio
Negri, who posit the field of biopolitical production , defined by the post- Fordist
immaterial labour, as the site of possible resistance to the sovereign bio-power of
Empire, conceived as a purely negative, expropriating force in relation to the plenitude and authenticity characteristic of the
social plane of immanence.17 In contrast to this approach , which unwittingly replicates the
state phobia that gave rise to the very neoliberalism that Hardt and Negri decry ,18
Agamben is clearly aware of the degradation of social life in the late-capitalist
spectacle and insists on [distinguishing between the massive inscription of social
knowledge into the productive processes (an inscription that characterizes the
contemporary phase of capitalism, the society of the spectacle) and intellectuality
as antagonistic power and form-of-life.19 As we shall see, to the extent that the spectacle can be a site of any
On the other hand,

transformation, it is only as a site of its own destruction.

2ac wilderson
Wilderson and Agambens theorization of structural violence
are complementary and work best together
Johnson 14 (Paul Lecturer and Associate Director of Debate at the University of
Iowa, A Reading of Some of Frank Wildersons Red, White, and Black, Contra/Pro
Giorgio Agamben, in Sounding Rhetoric, 5-31-14,
http://soundingrhetoric.blogspot.com/2014/05/a-reading-of-some-of-frankwildersons_5930.html)
Wildersons argument has far reaching implications for those in communication studies who remain interested in rendering accounts
of how deliberative practices and institutional action do or do not succeed in achieving certain goals, either thought of in terms of
constituting material benchmarks through traditional metrics (legislative change, changes in legal interpretation) or in a more
Between Facts and Norms sense of moving the needle in terms of expanding the repertoire of forms and practices of argumentation
that civil society is capable of recognizing as political. Wilderson has no compunction about aligning himself with the academic
movement of what is called Afro-pessimism because in his view, the structural exclusion of the Black from society ensures that
efforts at expansionary inclusion emanating from the mass public serve only to confirm the authority of that public to judge while at
the same time routinely failing to address the structural conditions of exclusion. I am cheating a bit here by splitting them into two
functions, actually. It is really the case that the confirmation of the mass publics capacity to judge perpetuates the structural
conditions of exclusion. Despite Wildersons decision to place Giorgio Agamben in his crosshairs in the opening of his book, I believe

Agambens account of the distinction between bare life and political life offers an
elegant supplement that explains the rhetorical mechanisms for the production of
the process Wilderson identifies. In Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life Agamben outlines his
case for how the dispossession of populations comes to function structurally as
opposed to contingently. Working from the Aristotelian distinction between life with the capacity for political speech,
that

political life, and life which is incapable of signifying, bare life, Agamben suggests political actors utilize a rhetoric that elevates the
good life, that is, life which exists above the realm of pure biological existence and into the realm of shared speech, politics.

Elevating political life, however, requires that political life be defined against some other
version of life, and that other form of life is bare life . Political philosophy has
defended Western political institutions on the basis not of their capacity to protect a
Hobbesian social contract, that is, the basis to secure bare life, but instead on the basis to provide for
the good life. Michel Foucault engineered this turn in thinking politics in The History of Sexuality Vol. 1, where he identified
emerging tendencies on the part of the government to rationalize interventions as means of enabling populations not just to live,

Such rationales represent racialized thought because they


discriminate between various and sundry populations to the extent that some ways
of living are valued and prioritized over and above others . By the time he wrote State of Exception
Agamben was applying his thesis to the conduct of internal politics and especially
the war on terror. It should be noted that he does not think the war on terror is a unique
example of the politicization of bare life, only that it is one among many available in
what he says is now, following Walter Benjamin, a state of permanent exception in which
populations find themselves bare and thus vulnerable to management,
dispossession, and extermination at the hands of the sovereign. These bodies suffer
the violence of sovereignty, included only to feel its force, but are otherwise excluded from
participation. In this way a simple topographical distinction between inside and
outside is not enough, but a threshold, a zone of indifference, where inside and
outside do not exclude each other but rather blur with each other.[8] Let me give an example
of this process. Many of George W. Bushs speeches in the wake of September 11th spoke of the
Al Qaeda and the nations that harbored them as barbaric threats to Western
civilization. At the same time that these populations were described in these terms, America continued to conduct a campaign
but also to live well and in a certain way.

of vigilant military attack on these nations, attacks which created and intensified numerous political and infrastructural deficiencies
faced by countries which were often already struggling with developmental deficits that indexed not only the legacy of colonialism
but also their position on the periphery rather than center of the global order. Existing cultural differences, especially religious and
ethnic, were played up in media accounts of the conditions facing women in nations like Afghanistan.

At the same time

that political rhetoric emanating from the West suggested that these nations were
politically bereft and thus in need of Western military intervention , sanctions,
international scorn, and that military intervention worked to verify the rhetorical
account of these nations as backwards and outside of the world of Western
political life. They were inside sovereignty only to the extent that they faced the
exercise of sovereign violence but constitutively excluded in all other ways . So the
question: would Wilderson recognize the strife between Western Europe and the populations in the East as a family quarrel
following Fanons analysis of the Holocaust? Would the position of Afghanistan be contingent in his view, i.e. occupying a position of
the Black but only until there comes to be a recognition of something shared between Afghanistan and the West? Would this
recognition depend upon what Wilderson, building on the work of Sadiya Hartman, would call the fungibility of the idea of violence
as applied to the black body? Those who are both geographically segregated from the West and also marked ethnically will probably
not be permitted to symbolically enter the West anytime soon. And if the soft, permanent electronic euthanasia of drone strikes is
any indicator, civil societys capacity to perceive the bodies of those like the son of Anwar Awlaki is seriously denuded. While some
Western theorists, chief among them Agamben, are capable of ascertaining similar characteristics in the Holocaust and the ongoing
war on terror, one would be hard pressed to identify this analogical mode of thinking as anything approaching dominant or
ascendant, which suggests a level of permanence to the position of bare life in the war on terror as constitutively excluded. This

Wilderson and Agamben have strikingly similar accounts of


suffering. Both suggest that for certain bodies the difference from other bodies is
one of kind rather than degree. That is, for Wilderson the slave is ontologically distinct from the body that is
included in civil society. Similarly, Agamben holds that bare life is in a position of abjection ,
subject to the vicissitudes of violent sovereignty by virtue of an inclusion whose
only index is the bodys subjection to violence . But there is one important seeming distinction: while
example emphasizes that

Wilderson and Agamben both render the violence as ontological in the sense that it absolutely denies the humanity and agency of

Agamben reads the emptiness of sovereigntys authorityhere I would say


a sign of hope rather than the pessimism that Wilderson suggests. As
he says in State of Exception the lack of a substantial articulation between violence and law ,
those upon it is visited,

its rhetorical basisas

that is, the fact that the relationship is established through tautology rather than through appeal to some kind of external authority,

suggests that the inability to distinguish between violence and the law is itself a
resource for political action, one that could demonstrate that emptiness.[9] Wilderson
on the other hand believes that the investment in authority for authoritys sake is
evidence that there is no chance for the slave to exist in the world because the
slaves existence is what makes the world possible . As he says it, No slave, no world because of both
how the physical labor of slavery makes our existing world possible and also how the symbolic figure of the slave secures, through

the
attitudinal difference between the two thinkers is much less than the shared
explanation both give for the way in which political action sediments hierarchies to
the detriment of bodies that have no access to those political worlds . Both Agamben
and Wilderson indicate that the authority of civil society is generated by tautological
exercises of sovereign power the ground themselves in their own assumption of
authority. Agamben suggests that sovereignty anticipates its own success to close off alternative perspectives while Wilderson
various and sundry means, the intelligibility of civil society itself. Above I mark the distinction as seeming because I think

argues that anti-blackness works as a paradigm by rendering a constitutively impossibility arguments and actions which might
testify to its own self-investment in authority. Wilderson and Agamben both outline theories of political exclusion that argue some
forms of life are given priority over other forms of life, and the unintelligibility of those other forms of life is the grist for the mill of
civil society and politics, respectively. Wildersons point regarding Agambens focus on the Holocaust is a necessary one, but

contemporary situations of global violence also suggest that there may be


a level of permanence to the state of exception that argues more for a
reading of affinity between the two rather than a theorization of their
opposition.

2ac identity politics


Feminism perm card
Flax 99 (Jane, Professor of Political Science, Howard University, CAN THERE BE
CITIZENSHIP WITHOUT RACE AND GENDER?,
http://iiav.nl/epublications/1999/cantherebecitizenshipwithoutraceandgender.pdf)//B
W
The gradual withdrawal of legally legitimated race/gender domination in the US began in 1863 with the
Emancipation proclamation. This process occurred simultaneously with the extension of new forms of power. These

The conjunction of the gradual diminishing of citizenship as


a mark of social standing and the development of modern subjectivity constituted
through biopower has disrupted ruling American political mythologies. The less
overt race/gender dominance can function to ward off or compensate for the
consequences of modern subjection, the more politically unstable American society
becomes. When what Kristeva calls the abject is unable to be so easily projected outward political subjects are
are what Foucault calls biopower.

unsettled. This has been further complicated by the collapse of the clear international enemythe former Soviet
Union, further splintering possibilities of coherent organization through hatred of a common object. I take the notion
of citizenship as social standing from Judith Shklar. (1991) She argues that originally an important dimension of

the dominant political


ideology claims all humans are equals, the status of citizen is a mark of respect. The
absence of the status brands one as inferior , not fully human and lacking. Thus
citizenship is most appreciated by those who lack it and is most valued as long as
some are excluded from it. Once citizenship becomes truly universal it can no longer function as such a
American citizenship was as a marker for and instrument of social standing. When

marker. Citizenship then loses status and much of its social salience. Despite its location within a discourse of
equality, its connection with privilege gave citizenship much of its value. Shklar suggests that in the US as
citizenship ceases to mark social status, income emerges the primary source of determining worth and respect. This
accelerates the withdrawal from public life and intensifies the emphasis on individualism, earning and consumption

The belief that wealth signifies worth and


that the worthy will gain enables Americans to tolerate features of social life , such
as the vast inequalities in the distribution of income and wealth that others might
find problematic. This process also further undermines the possibilities for constructive engagement in the
that are such distinctive aspects of American culture.

public sphere, as citizenship devolves into a means for protecting private material interests. Vast economic
inequalities corrode any sense of a life in common or of a shared public world, producing a vicious circle of
deepening estrangement and privatization. The ability of a few to go from "rags to riches" reinforces the mythology
of individualism. Individualism teaches us that social locations such as race/gender are purely contingent or matters

Inability to do so signals personal


failure; there are no structural barriers to success or systematic asymmetries of
power. Since explanations for failure must lie within personal qualities, this mythology permits a covert moral
of luck. As such, they can be surmounted by any worthy person.

blaming along ascriptive, race/gender lines.

*Insert fire emojis here*


Flax 99 (Jane, Professor of Political Science, Howard University, CAN THERE BE
CITIZENSHIP WITHOUT RACE AND GENDER?,
http://iiav.nl/epublications/1999/cantherebecitizenshipwithoutraceandgender.pdf)//B
W
In his narrative, Rawls misconstructs phenomenal as well as noumenal selves. The problem is not the vulnerability
of our phenomenal (or noumenal) existence to contingent determination existence per se but how determination is
distributed. What Rawls calls "contingencies" or "accidents of history," what I would call in our present context,

race/gender domination, have after all systematically distributed great freedom to


some subject positions. Dominant groups do not exercise greater freedom and
autonomy on account of their heightened powers of reason . They enjoy such capacities
because social practices distribute unequal amounts of resources to them. The problem is not an intrinsic
unfreedom of our bodies as opposed to our minds, but the "social facts" of the operation of bodies as sites of power.

In the contemporary world such "contingencies" are often effects of what Foucault
calls biopower. Our inquiry into the production of privilege and unfreedom are blocked by sustaining this split
between noumenal and phenomenal selves. We cannot recognize the power relations that play out through bodies,
we cannot see how those "contingent advantages and accidental influences from the past" are socially constructed
effects of power, by fantasizing a disembodied mind. Without such inquiries, we are unlikely to reduce the injustices

Race/gender is a prime locus of biopower. The


continuing operation of norms and regulation reproduce it. It is a way of
organizing bodies. Power effects the transformation of certain physical
features into determining social facts and ideas . Skin color does not compel the idea of
such power relations sustain.

race any more than genitals require an idea of gender. Once these categories exist and regulate the lives of
subjects, further expert knowledge emerges to justify them. Since all subjects must live within their constituting
knowledge/power networks, these categories are socially real. This transformation of bodies into social fact through

Race/gender domination cannot be solved


by ignoring the social power of its categories. This particular organization
of subjects is the problem. Attempting to attain equality by articulating abstract principles of justice
the exercise of power is the fundamental problem.

will not destroy the domination required to reproduce race/gender. While upheld by juridical power,

race/domination is not amenable to liberal, juridical solutions alone. We can see this
in the failures of law, especially Supreme Court decisions, to successfully resolve
matters of race/gender. The entire construction must be dismantled, not to create a "race blind" society
but one in which these categories cease to operate. Biopower requires us to rethink what counts
as "public" or "private" and the proper subjects of politics . This deconstruction cannot occur
without admitting that a particular set of relations were constructed. The categories and practices retain their
constituting effects. We cannot just pretend that race/gender does not shape us; that we are simply individuals. All
the effects of race/gender on American subjects and our institutions must be actively confronted and undone. This
is what necessitates affirmative action and why it is the site of so much anger and resistance. No defense can be
mounted of such a policy without explicit reference to a history that many Americans would like to declare
irrelevant or without current consequences. Appeals to abstract reason, such as Rawls's "least advantaged"
principle are counterproductive, because the race/gender subtext will not disappear. Discussion of contingent
determination in devising basic principles and approximating justice is required. Affirmative action acknowledges
that each subject's race/gender is relevant .

It consciously and with specific attempt to favor the


disadvantaged incorporates race/gender within dominant institutions . Domination is not
only in the past, but at least partially accounts for the present distribution of privilege and subordination.
Affirmative action policies force us to confront the fact that the constituting subjects of America are not, never were
and cannot be abstract individuals. Until race/gender ceases to construct political subjects, there is no one available
who can devise or implement colorblind policies. Biopower challenges the narrative of liberal individualism. A
refusal to inquire into the subject's constitution helps to sustain this myth. The dominant notion of power remains a

Biopower's subversive effects


partially explain the reluctance to integrate it within accounts of contemporary
American politics. Conflicts exist between modern beliefs about rationality, freedom,
and agency and the disciplines required to maintain them. The subject of the juridical story is
"juridical" one. Juridical notions focus on formal political institutions.

radically transformed. It is no longer an abstract, self-constituting and freely contracting agent. Instead, it is a
participating, shifting and resisting position within complex circuits of power .

A biopower perspective
reveals the social production of rationality. It exposes the discipline required to
shape beings who can think according to disciplinary norms . Rationality without a belief in
the objectivity and universality of disciplinary norms jeopardizes social order and ethical legitimation. If order
depends upon particular kinds of knowledge and power, its legitimacy is fragile. One solution to this conflict of
narratives has long been practiced in the United States. As Morrison argues, race/gender categories protect the
legitimating idea of the sovereign, rational subject. To preserve this subject, discipline and rationality are enacted
and distributed differently along race/gender lines.

For certain privileged positions, race/gender

can operate to mask the effects of biopower. Race/gender marks only certain
subjects as determined by social relations. Those who are not a lesser or marked
other can be undetermined by biopower; they can be abstract individuals. Despite biopower,
individualism remains a real possibility. The failure to achieve it lies in the defects of the others. This strategy
continually generates a category of the abject onto whom all heterogeneous determination can be projected and
blamed. Repeated attempts to rescue the fantasies that produce liberal individuals require a politics of hate. We do
not often think of communities bound by hate. Indeed the recent resurgence of "communitarian" writings ignores
these bonds altogether (Sandel, 1982; Bellah, et.al.,1985; Avineri and de-Shalit, eds., 1992). Yet, at least in
American history, these forces have been important sources of solidarity. Hate ties people to others in ways they
cannot consciously acknowledge. It generates a desire to destroy the other who so unrelentingly affects one's own
fate. As Fairbairn (1952) argues, such bonds are among the most difficult to break.

2ac marx
Permutation Do Both global capital and the sovereignty are
intertwined only through an elimination of the sovereign can
we solve for capitalism
Robinson, 11 (Andrew, In Theory Giorgio Agamben: destroying sovereignty,
Cease Fire, https://ceasefiremagazine.co.uk/in-theory-giorgio-agamben-destroyingsovereignty/)//BW
The fact that states are
constrained by or even hybridised with other social forces does not necessarily
preclude them having their own logic or dynamic. To argue by analogy, capitalists
always seek to make profits, even if sometimes they have to rely on local kinship
networks to secure profits, or pay off local leaders to access resources. The profit
motive is inherent to capitalist motivation, even when this motivation enters into
hybrid combinations. Similarly, it is quite plausible that Agambens account of sovereignty describes
This doesnt necessarily mean that Agamben is wrong about sovereignty.

something inherent in the functioning of states. But nevertheless, the question of whether, to what extent, and

how the state is able to actualise sovereignty becomes dependent on its location
among other social forces. If it is suddenly acting more thoroughly on this logic, then it is quite possible
that it has not simply evolved cumulatively, but has either grown stronger relative to other forces, has seceded
from them and become unconcerned about its effects on them, or is benefiting from an enabling context which lets

states have either been


forced to permit or unable to prevent the expansion of rights such as habeas
corpus. It is particularly paradoxical that the state is acting in a more unconstrained
way with regard to sovereignty at precisely the moment when it has lost important
powers to global capital. Is global capital actually permitting, or even encouraging,
the unfolding of sovereignty? Is sovereignty becoming more apparent because the cathartic outlet of
it unfold its own dynamic in an unconstruained way. In other times and places,

interstate conflict has declined? Are states acting up because they fear their own loss of power to transnational

the state becoming less afraid of


powerful included groups such as organised labour and the professions, which
would otherwise make it hesitant to risk deploying sovereignty ? Is the discourse of
networks, from social movements to armed opposition groups? Is

sovereignty reappearing in force because the state needs to redefine its own role to survive the decay of other
narratives (such as the state-as-arbiter and the state-as-distributor)?

Chronology DA --- Marx misunderstands destituent power --- it


is not a question of the general conditions for revolution, but
the unique revolutionary chance of our time
baedan 12 (baedan anonymous group of radical theorists, baedan, summer
2012, volume 1, p. 69-72, http://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/baedan-baedan.pdf)
The tradition of the oppressed teaches us that the state of emergency in
which we live is not the exception but the rule . We must attain to a conception of history that accords with
this insight. Then we will clearly see that it is our task to bring about a real state of emergency , and
this will improve our position in the struggle against fascism . This, from the eighth thesis, ties in
with his "Critique of Violence" in which he lays out a broad critique of the legal system as a system of violence that
divests individuals of all violence. He illuminates the link between the two texts when he writes in the critique
that "the critique of violence is the philosophy of its history" because it must look beyond just "what is
Benjamin:

close at hand" to attain a truly critical approach . What is at stake for Benjamin in this critique is that a
full understanding of the development of violence can give insight into "the breaking
of this cycle. the suspension of law with all the forces on which it depends as they
depend on it, finally therefore. the abolition of state power." Keep in mind, as we move from reading his philosophy of the
history of violence to his theses on the philosophy of history itself, that both concern themselves with this same break. The
realization of Benjamin's vision of state abolition is defined as a break with a
historical cycle in which violence creates law , preserves law, and in which "either new
forces or those earlier suppressed" violently overthrow the existent law in order to
"found a new law, destined in its turn to decay ." The possibility of a break from the
whole cycle rests on the recognition that if the existing law can be broken today , then
an attack on law itself can soon be made ; and that if there is "violence outside the law, as pure immediate
violence," then "revolutionary violence, the highest manifestation of unalloyed violence by man, is possible." Although the Critique
also points to another, more subtle task beyond this one, what we will keep in mind as we proceed is this concept of revolutionary
violence, since for him

this is to call an end to law and its violence

. From Benjamin's omitted notes on history: Marx


says that revolutions are the locomotive of world history. But perhaps it is quite otherwise. Perhaps revolutions are an attempt by the passengers on this
train namely the human race to activate the emergency brake. Benjamin's emergency brake is never expressed as something to wait for. Indeed, to
Benjamin it is the Social Democrats who treat their task as infinite, ideal, and who treat time as "an anteroom, so to speak, in which one could wait for the
emergence of the revolutionary situation." On the contrary, he writes that "in reality, there is not a moment that would not carry with it its revolutionary
chance provided only that it is defined in a specific way, namely as the chance for a completely new resolution of a completely new problem." In the
fourteenth thesis, Benjamin says that "what characterizes revolutionary classes at their moment of action is the awareness that they are about to make
the continuum of history explode. He describes that on the first evening of the Paris Commune, revolutionaries stood "at the foot of every clocktower
[and] were firing on clock faces to make the day stand still An enmity toward time is important for us because the concept of abstract, empty time seeks
to domesticate us as slaves to progress. The numerical clock-time represented by the hour functions to regiment and dictate daily life while measuring our
labor power in its exploitation by capital. It is the structure of the futurity that forces us away from the real of the now. This is why a friend recently
reminds that one day of insurrection is worth a thousand centuries of normality. For Benjamin, the moments that interrupt the progression of empty
capitalist time are a kind of messianic time. Messianic time is the unmeasurable duration which contains unlimited possibilities. It does not exist in linear
capacity, but instead exists as an interruption of linear time. Messianic time exists in splinters which are diffused through the empty fabric of capitalist
time. We can recognize in these splinters that negativity which is intrinsic to the social order; the irrational now-time which threatens to suspend the
reproductive drive of the future, to interrupt the continuum of history. Benjamin insists in his notes that anyone who "wishes to know what the situation of
a redeemed humanity might actually be, what conditions are required for the development of such a situation, and when this development can be
expected to occur, poses questions to which there are no answers (emphasis added). This kind of seeking for answers so common in revolutionaries is

Since each moment contains its own unique revolutionary


chance, to look for the general conditions in which revolution can develop is to
fall into conceiving of time as homogenous and empty. The revolutionary chance
itself is not defined by its being a further development in a historical continuum but
is instead a cut or stoppage, a chance to blast a way out of the continuum . Indeed,
Benjamin makes quite explicit that this notion is at odds with Marxs followers who have mis-understood
"classless society as the endpoint of historical development . He remarks to the contrary that
classless society must have "a genuinely messianic face restored to it. One way to
contextualize interruption is to think through the strike . This should also be interesting in light of
futile by Benjamins account.

recent attempts at rekindling the flame of the revolutionary general strike, in relation to which the discourse around violence has
appeared again as a trap on all sides. While the model of the strike is explicitly referenced in the "Critique of Violence it is absent
rather conspicuously from the "Concept of History In the former, he writes about the strike which appears in the class struggle as

On the one hand is the strike as extortion


violence used by labor as a means toward securing an end , which the state
sanctions as a legal right in order to "forestall violent actions [such as the burning of factories]
the state is afraid to oppose The revolutionary general strike departs from the
strike-as-extortion and becomes a crisis to which the state understands it must
respond with violent suppression. It has to do this lest the strike find its way to the very heart of the state.
Because, in such a strike, "the state fears above all else that function of violence
which it is the object of this study to identify as the only secure formulation of its
critique What then is this secure formulation of the critique of violence? It is the
critique of the state itself. Given that any strike is a kind of interruption or stoppage, nevertheless it is generally
a form of violence. He distinguishes between different aspects.

understood that there will be a return to work once a demand is met. In what Benjamin calls the political general strike, a set of
politicians take this method beyond the demands particular to a workplace and apply it to a demand for them (the politicians) to
take power, at which point there will be a return to work. All of this bears only the most superficial resemblance to what Benjamin
describes as the form of the strike that takes place rooted "in the determination to resume only a wholly transformed work, no

longer enforced by the state. In contrast to the political general strike, this other "form of interruption of work,

the

proletarian general strike, is "pure means, "nonviolent, and "anarchistic. The reason that
these two forms are "antithetical in their relation to violence bears some further inquiry. To Benjamin the political general strike is
violent because it "causes only an external modification of labor conditions, which are in themselves violent, and has as its aim the

The proletarian general strike is


nonviolent because it is the abolition of the state the real critique of violence put
into effect. And the "really effective critique of violence "coincides with the critique of all legal violence.
strengthening of state power, which is both violent and the arbiter of violence.

Case NEG

framework

2nc law good


We should retrieve the descriptive force of Agambens
criticism of law without neglecting the strategic benefits
reform provides for the oppressed
*4pt font for long passages with no relevance
Deranty 4 (Jean-Philippe Professor of Philosophy at Macquarie University,
Agambens challenge to normative theories of modern rights, in borderlands,
Volume 3, Number 1, 2004,
http://www.borderlands.net.au/vol3no1_2004/deranty_agambnschall.htm)
7. The question, though, is whether Agambens counter-theory that results from this critical inspiration is itself valid. This paper aims
to assess some of Agambens key arguments against normative theories of rights, to show that his own proposal is itself caught up
in major conceptual and political difficulties. This leads to the conclusion - which can only be programmatically sketched within the

there is still a need to attempt to retrieve the force of


Agambens critical arguments, but without abandoning the resource that
modern rights, in their normative dimensions, can provide for an alternative
political theory and practice.
scope of this short paper - that

Agambens Essentialism 8. Agambens conception of the task of thinking is deeply Heideggerian. It can be summarized in this way: the thinker isolates

ontological essences in which the common ground of apparently different, or even opposite, empirical and historical phenomena is revealed. The constantly reoccurring conceptual gesture in Agambens writings is that of
indistinction. Political power is the instigation of an indistinction between the state of exception and the normal legal order, between fact and law, nature and norm, animality and humanity, inside and outside, inclusion and exclusion.
It must be noted that, paradoxically, this recurrent movement of indistinction that effaces conceptual and empirical differences runs counter to the Foucauldian distinctions and discontinuities. 9. Consistent with this foundationalist
essentialism, Agamben does not restrict indistinction to the conceptual or structural level, but extends it to empirical, historical phenomena. The archaic State is not substantially different from the modern one. There is no essential
difference between democracy before Auschwitz, the totalitarian States themselves, and democracy after Auschwitz between liberal democracies and dictatorships (Agamben 1998:10). In Auschwitz, there is no difference between
victim and executioner (Agamben 1999a: 21). No distinction between the sacred priest, the criminal banned from the archaic community and the modern citizen; no distinction between the bodies in Auschwitz and the bodies of
victims of car accidents in modern Europe (1998: 114); no distinction between the Muselmann in the extermination camp and the immigrant locked up by police in a hotel at Charles de Gaulle Airport (1998: 174), or between the
Muselmann and the overcomatose person (1999a: 156); no distinction between the Nazi extermination camps and the camps established in the former Yugoslavia. 10. On a general, philosophical level, the essentialist method that
leads to general indistinguishability would be questioned by other traditions of thought. The strongest critique would probably come from the Hegelian tradition, for which the essence is to be found nowhere but in its modes of
appearance, identity in differences. The conceptual imperative that ensues is the task of thinking precisely what appears as different, and not look for a transcendent "thing-in-itself" in which all differences are swallowed. If indeed
there are historiographical differences between democracy and fascism (1998: 10), then perhaps it should bear more weight in the theory, and not be blurred into indistinction. From a Hegelian perspective, Agambens conceptuality
looks very much like a Schellingian night where all cows are black. This in itself is obviously not a ground for rejection, as all theory starts from a theoretical decision which is itself ungrounded and the matter of pure freedom, as
Fichte demonstrated. Thought, like politics, is all about the decision and its implications. 11. In the case of empirical examples, the erasure of difference between phenomena seems particularly counter-intuitive in the case of

From a practical point of view, it seems counter-productive to claim that


there is no substantial difference between archaic communities and modern
communities provided with the language of rights, between the lawlessness of war
times and democratic discourse. There must be a way of problematising the
ideological mantra of Western freedom, of modernitys moral superiority, that does
not simply equate it with Nazi propaganda (Ogilvie 2001). Habermas and Honneth
probably have a point when they highlight the advances made by modernity in the
entrenchment of rights. If the ethical task is that of testimony , then our testimony
should go also to all the individual lives that were freed from alienation by the
establishment of legal barriers against arbitrariness and exclusion . We should heed
Honneths reminder that struggles for social and political emancipation have often
privileged the language of rights over any other discourse (Fraser, Honneth 2003). To reject
the language of human rights altogether could be a costly gesture in understanding
past political struggles in their relevance for future ones , and a serious strategic,
political loss for accompanying present struggles . We want to criticise the ideology
of human rights, but not at the cost of renouncing the resources that rights provide .
Otherwise, critical theory would be in the odd position of casting aspersions upon
the very people it purports to speak for, and of depriving itself of a major
weapon in the struggle against oppression.
dissimilar modes of internment.

The Critique of Human Rights 12. In order to argue against fundamental rights as the normative

grounding of modern politics, Agamben presents the biopolitical thesis: the actual subject of the law is not the citizen, understood as a person vested with fundamental rights, but the human being as living creature. The actual
subject of power is bare life. 13. I want to consider this rejection of the principle of human rights from the angle of the emergence of biopolitics at the time of the declarations of human rights. Agamben accepts the well-established
distinction between ancient natural law, natural law under absolutism, and modern natural law (Strauss 1953). His narrative, however, runs counter to the usual one: It is almost as if, starting from a certain point, every decisive
political event were double-sided: the spaces, the liberties, and the rights won by individuals in their conflicts with central powers always simultaneously prepared a tacit but increasing inscription of individuals lives with the state
order, thus offering a new and more dreadful foundation for the very sovereign power from which they wanted to liberate themselves (Agamben 1998: 121). 14. This is a kind of dialectic of Enlightenment: the more individuals
liberate themselves legally from the shackles of authority, the more they subject themselves to power biopolitically. This dialectic enables Agamben to postulate a continuous line running from the first formulation of the Habeas
Corpus, through the Bill of Rights, to the 1933 Nuremberg eugenic laws: along this line we find the body of the individual directly exposed to the state of exception. In the different Declarations of Human Rights that signal the
historical birth of modernity, the subject becomes citizen that is bearer of sovereignty, solely on account of his birth, his natio, or nationality. Behind the citizen, man as bare life is hidden. This bare life exposed to sovereign power is
precisely the pure substance that the Nazi regime attempted to produce, which justifies the perception of continuity between modern democracy and the totalitarian State. 15. This reading of the French Revolution and of the
Declarations of Human Rights used as preambles to the different constitutions of the Rpublique is problematic. First of all, in the American Revolution, which in many senses was the model for the French, it would be difficult to find
the figure of homo sacer. The American declaration of independence, influenced by Lockes theory of natural law, places the origin of the rights of men in divine laws. Political power does not apply to individuals considered from the
point of view of their birth, their natio or nationality, but to individuals fully endowed with natural rights, as creatures of God (Kervgan 1995: 660). 16. Agamben is greatly inspired by Hannah Arendt. She is the one that explicitly
makes the "internment camp" a central figure of modern times (Arendt 1966: 276). In her, he finds a strong counter-objection to the remark above. In both the "American formula" that relies on the authority of God, and the "French
formula" that relies on philosophical justifications of natural law, the fiction of a universal essence of man is denounced by the factual helplessness of all the refugees and stateless people created by the turmoils of the 20th century.
17. Agamben quotes Arendts critical conclusion: the conception of human rights, based upon the assumed existence of a human being as such, broke down at the very moment when those who professed to believe in it were for the
first time confronted with people who had indeed lost all other qualities and specific relationships except that they were still human (Arendt 1966: 299; Agamben 1998: 126). But he fails to quote the very next line, which makes all

the difference: "The world found nothing sacred in the abstract nakedness of the human being" (Arendt 1966: 299). 18. What Arendt means is that only when they are realised in a political "commonwealth" do human rights have any
meaning. They are an abstraction otherwise. More important than the right to freedom or the right to justice is "the right to have rights", that is, to be the member of a political community. Arendt therefore asserts the opposite of
what Agamben wants to say: she believes that the political solution lies in what he considers to be a fiction, namely the citizen. Her point is that when man and citizen come apart, we realise that man never really existed as a subject
of rights. This is the exact opposite of Agamben for whom the citizen is just a travesty. 19. Despite this opposition, Agamben borrows Arendts critical interpretation of the French revolution and modernity in general, even though this
interpretation itself is not beyond doubt. The French declaration makes it clear that human rights lose all significance if they are not reinscribed within a political community that transforms them into constitutional principles, and the
American constitution also defines a clear link between individual freedom and a political order whose goal is freedoms protection. Yet, Agamben reads the first article of the Declaration of 1789, "all men are born and remain free
and equal in rights" as proof that modern sovereign power applies to bare life, here in the form of birth (Agamben 1995: 128). But this seems disingenuous. Birth here refers not to nationality, but simply to the fundamental fact of
the equality of all human beings in right. The term effectuates the radical break with ancient and absolutist natural law, a break that is synonymous with legal modernity. In ancient natural law, rights were associated with the social
position or the notion of a perfect cosmic order underpinned by God. 20. This emphasis on the rupture that the declarations consummate leads to the question of historical continuity. The Habeas Corpus is not necessarily a precursor
of modern declarations as it uses a non-egalitarian definition of freedom, reserved for the elite. It lacks the fundamental notion that is the mark of modernity, the universal equality of all. 21. Agamben does not emphasise equality,
but it could be argued that, above all others, even above the notion of right, it is this category that gives modernity its actual normative content. Modern man is therefore not first and foremost the national, but a universal being
liberated from the particularisms of traditional society. This amounts only to an empty universalism if no political project realises freedom and equality, but this is precisely a mistake that the American and French revolutions, for all
their ambiguities, did not commit. Agamben refuses to consider basic legal equality as the true content of declarations of human rights and instead focuses on the national aspect. In this he is faithful to Schmitt who rejects the
republican conception of popular sovereignty. Schmitt, Benjamin and the Violence of the Law 22. One of the most impressive aspects in Agambens oeuvre is the extent to which it has developed to such a high level of conceptual
sophistication, and how it delves to such a degree into philological, historical and conceptual detail, whilst remaining ever faithful to the letter and spirit of Walter Benjamins writings. This is true of his meditations on language,
literature, and the "end of experience". This especially true, however, of Agambens political writings. They can be read as the results of a systematic research undertaken with the goal of developing and giving substance to the

It is important to
approach Agambens theses on political sovereignty from this perspective because
their radical nature risks blocking access to their meaning and critical potential
insights put forward by Benjamin in his long forgotten and now famous 1921 article, "Critique of Violence", as well as the 1940 "Theses on the Philosophy of History".

. 23. The

second of the three volumes to be dedicated to the figure of homo sacer (Homo Sacer II, 1) studies afresh many of the key theses, concepts and references that were present in the first instalment (Homo Sacer: sovereign power and
bare life). The new genealogical and ontological analyses in this second volume make both the negative, critical, and the positive, programmatic, aspects of Agambens politics very clear. 24. By focusing on the paradox of
constituting power, the extra-juridical nature of the decision that founds the juridical field, the paradox of political sovereignty, which, in its normality and normativity, logically relies on the power to decree the state of exception, Carl
Schmitt has isolated the violent, anomic core of all juridical and political systems. In this sense, Schmitt tells the truth about the political, the truth about Western politics. For example, empirically, the world in which we live is a
Schmittian world, where the state of exception becomes the rule of even supposedly "democratic" governments. 25. But, to use Heideggers turn of phrase, that is only the guiding question, not the founding one. More importantly, in
their very accuracy, the Schmittian theses point to all that is wrong in Western politics, and thus, negatively, to another form of politics. With Schmitt, Agamben believes one can cut to the very essence of Western politics, beyond
illusory rationalistic and normative frameworks. Only after having reached that point, once the essence of all politics has been identified, can one hope to find the correct alternative. Any solution that would not confront the
Schmittian challenge would remain caught up in unending conundrums. The embracing of Schmitt is thus only a negative, propaedeutic step towards a positive political theory. 26. So what is wrong with Schmitt, according to
Agamben, and what political field opens up once we have crossed this ultimate threshold? In the central chapter of Homo Sacer II, 1, Agamben reconstructs the different stages of Schmitts theory of sovereign exception as a series of
responses to Benjamins fundamental challenge, the idea expressed in the 1921 "Critique of violence", and reiterated in the 1940 eighth thesis on history, of a "pure" revolutionary "violence" beyond all forms of law, which therefore
would not be violent, of a "real state of exception", the revolutionary one, that would replace the absolute violence of the state of exception "in which we live" (Benjamin 1991: 291[292]). 27. For Agamben, Schmitts theory of
sovereignty is the attempt to conjure up the threat of (Benjaminian) revolution, by tying up the anomy at the core of human action to the juridical order via the theory of exception. This gesture of tying up anomic violence to a
normative order is exactly isonomic to the metaphysical gesture that attempts to capture Being in the net of logos. This is why Schmitt, as the one who identified the pure elements of all legal orders, the anomic core of normal
legality, but continued to tie the two together, represents the true acme, both conceptually and for what he stood for historically, of Western politics. And this is why Benjamin, who had learnt from Schmitt about the exceptionality
forming the core of legal normality and normative legality, but perverted the Schmittian lesson by cutting the link between exception and law, shows the right way out of the political impasse of the West. The effective theory of
revolution is the messianic utopianism of Benjamin. 28. All this explains why Agamben chooses to focus on the decisionistic tradition (Hobbes, Heidegger, Schmitt). With it, he wants to isolate the pure essences of all juridical orders
and thus highlight the essential violence structuring traditional politics. Since the law essentially appears as a production and capture of bare life, the political order that enunciates and maintains the law is essentially violent, always

The problem with this strategic use of


the decisionistic tradition is that it does not do justice to the complex relationship
that these authors establish between violence and normativity , that is, in the end the very
normative nature of their theories. In brief, they are not saying that all law is violent , in essence or in its core,
rather that law is dependent upon a form of violence for its foundation . Violence can
found the law, without the law itself being violent.
threatening the bare life it has produced with total annihilation. Auschwitz is the real outcome of all normative orders. 29.

In Hobbes, the social contract, despite the absolute nature of the sovereign it

creates, also enables individual rights to flourish on the basis of the inalienable right to life (see Barret-Kriegel 2003: 86). 30. In Schmitt, the decision over the exception is indeed "more interesting than the regular case", but only
because it makes the regular case possible. The "normal situation" matters more than the power to create it since it is its end (Schmitt 1985: 13). What Schmitt has in mind is not the indistinction between fact and law, or their
intimate cohesion, to wit, their secrete indistinguishability, but the origin of the law, in the name of the law. This explains why the primacy given by Schmitt to the decision is accompanied by the recognition of popular sovereignty,
since the decision is only the expression of an organic community. Decisionism for Schmitt is only a way of asserting the political value of the community as homogeneous whole, against liberal parliamentarianism. Also, the evolution
of Schmitts thought is marked by the retreat of the decisionistic element, in favour of a strong form of institutionalism. This is because, if indeed the juridical order is totally dependent on the sovereign decision, then the latter can
revoke it at any moment. Decisionism, as a theory about the origin of the law, leads to its own contradiction unless it is reintegrated in a theory of institutions (Kervgan 1992). 31. In other words, Agamben sees these authors as
establishing a circularity of law and violence, when they want to emphasise the extra-juridical origin of the law, for the laws sake. Equally, Savignys polemic against rationalism in legal theory, against Thibaut and his philosophical
ally Hegel, does not amount to a recognition of the capture of life by the law, but aims at grounding the legal order in the very life of a people (Agamben 1998: 27). For Agamben, it seems, the origin and the essence of the law are
synonymous, whereas the authors he relies on thought rather that the two were fundamentally different. 32. Agamben obviously knows all this. He argues that it is precisely this inability of the decisionists to hold on to their key
insight, the anomic core of norms, which gives them the sad distinction of accurately describing an evil order. But this reading does not meet the objection to his problematic use of that tradition. 33. If the authors of the decisionistic
(Hobbes-Schmitt) and ethnonationalistic (Savigny-Schmitt) traditions do not want to emphasize the extra-juridical core of the law, but rather polemically establish the non-rationalistic and non-positivistic grounding of an otherwise
fully acknowledged normative order, then it seems as though Agamben makes them prove too much. If Hobbes, Savigny and Schmitt are intent, as much as their theoretical opponents, on shoring up the normative order, then they
cannot be used as proponents of an anti-normative essence of normativity. Conversely, a more serious engagement with the opposing traditions (mainly, natural law, positivism and rationalism) is required, since it is not the case that
the nationalistic-decisionistic one would be situated at a deeper level of analysis than its opponents. 34. This is illustrated in the passage in Homo Sacer II, 1 where Agamben analyses the justification-application dichotomy. The
passages on Schmitts theory of the state of exception show explicitly the hermeneutic slide in the reading of this key author. Indeed, "the state of exception separates the norm from its application in order to make the latter
possible". But Schmitts point is not what Agamben makes of it in the next paragraph, namely that, as a consequence, "it (the state of exception) introduces into the law a zone of anomy", in which "the two elements of the law" (the
norm and its application) "show their intimate cohesion" (Agamben 2003: 64). Instead, for Schmitt, the distinction between justification and application simply shows the political grounding of the legal moment. 35. But this grounding
in the political is just the result of a theoretical decision, and the alternatives should be confronted more explicitly. This lack of a substantial engagement with other legal alternatives becomes obvious a few pages later, when
Agamben analyses once more the specific problem of the application of the law. When he writes that "in the case of the juridical norm, the reference to the concrete case supposes a "process" that always implies a plurality of
subjects, and that culminates in the last instance in the enunciation of a sentence, that is to say, a statement whose operative reference to reality is guaranteed by institutional powers" (Agamben 2003: 69), he simply formulates a
classical distinction that can receive an entirely different treatment with no less plausibility. A recent philosophical solution to the gap between justification and application has been famously given by Habermas (1990 and 1996).
Chapters 5 and 6 of Between facts and norms in particular provide an excellent overview of plausible alternatives to Schmitts decisionistic theory of adjudication, from Kelsen to Critical Legal Studies. 36. But then Agamben cannot
simply use the fact that "the application of a norm is not contained in it" as leading directly to the theory of the state of exception, since from the very same premise another form of political grounding of the legal could be advanced,
one, for instance, that focuses on intersubjectivity and the institutionalisation of dissensus. The "violence" that realizes the statement is not necessarily "without logos". For Schmitt, it draws its authority from the political, that is, the
logos of the polis as ethnos; for another tradition, it would do so from the logos of intersubjectively constituted and essentially contested institutions. 37. Here, as in many other aspects of his thought, Agamben draws on Benjamin
for whom there is "something rotten in law" (Benjamin 1991b: 188 [286]), a fateful violence, "the destruction of which becomes obligatory" (199 [297]). There is undeniably a continuity in Benjamin, from the "Critique of Violence" to
the theses on the philosophy of history, that has to do with his fundamental vision of history as a series of catastrophes, a series of orders recurrently establishing themselves as forms of fate that unleash their violence, rephrased in
the language of the law, over the oppressed. But the other continuity in Benjamins writings is underplayed by Agamben. For Benjamin and his readers of 1921, the divine violence that is "law-destroying", and therefore - as negation
of the violent negation of law - no longer violent, is obviously the violence of the proletarian revolution, and there is no need, in 1921, to ask about its "logos", the normative source of its justification. This source is the "total condition
that is man" (Benjamin 1991b: 201 [299]), the "wholly transformed work" (1991b: 294 [292]), in other words, in a Marx-inspired vision of global revolution, however vague or heretic the reception of Marx. Again, in 1940, the theses
on history use historical materialism as their obvious background, though Agamben acknowledges this only in passing in Homo Sacer II (108), and appropriates Benjamin without reference to the background securing his
revolutionary messianism in Homo Sacer 1. Agamben acknowledges this only in passing in Homo Sacer II, 1 (2003: 108). Homo sacer I strikingly appropriated Benjamin without reference to the background securing his revolutionary
messianism. This means, however, that the new law beyond the law that no longer has the form of law is a lot more substantive than simply the "study" of, or "play with", the old law (Agamben 2003: 108-9). It is the immanent law of
the liberated community, whose book had already been written in extenso by another great German Jew. In other words, Benjamin indeed demonstrates the violent anomic core of law, but only to point to a new, normative law, the
new law of a community that has defeated fate. With this reference to Marx as the immanent normativity of Benjamins messianism, the notion of a politics of "pure means" becomes far more intuitively evident. Ontology of Politics,
Politics of Ontology 38. With the "Critique of Violence", Benjamin pursued the goal of a "politics of pure means" which would undercut the violence implicit in all articulation of morality and justice in (justified) means for (just) ends.
"The violence of an action can be assessed no more from its effects than from its ends, but only from the law of its means" (Benjamin 1991b: 195 [292]). Since the law of the legal orders means is the establishment of a violent fate
that captures bare life and produces guilt and punishment as forms of that capture (Benjamin 1991a: 175 [308]), the destruction of all forms of legality is "obligatory" before the advent of a just society. 39. Agamben takes up
Benjamins indication and engages in systematic research into the ontology of means and ends in order to show its absolute violent isonomy with the logic of sovereignty. To do this, Agamben borrows from Schmitt the definition of
sovereign power as the decisionary power over the state of exception, which he interprets as the paradoxical power to exclude and thereby include, or alternatively to include by excluding. 40. This formal model, he then shows,
following Heidegger, exactly corresponds in structural terms to the classical Aristotelian articulation of potentiality to actuality. Aristotle identifies two senses of potentiality. Potentiality is potentiality to be, and in that first sense, it is
directly related to actuality: potentiality as potentiality of actuality. Potentiality is therefore more truly itself in a second sense, as potentiality not to be. In this second sense, however, it also remains related to actuality. Indeed the
potential not to be, if reflectively turned onto itself, is again actuality. Not to be the power not to be is both being true to the nature of not being, and also to be in the most actual form of actuality. Impotentiality taken seriously is
both pure potentiality and as the impotentiality of the potential not-to-be, pure actuality. In other words, "pure potentiality and pure actuality are indistinguishable" (Agamben 1998: 47). 41. This conceptual indistinction, whereby the
potential is also the most actual form of actuality, is perfectly isomorphic with the sovereign structure if sovereignty is also defined as a power to suspend itself (potential not-to be) which is at the same time the source of itself and,
as normative power, the source of legal reality (actuality). 42. The conclusion is clear: if we want to move beyond biopolitics, beyond the violent politics of sovereignty, we have to develop an alternative ontology where the potential
is not always already recaptured by its own potentiality and thus forced to relate to its opposite, actuality. We have to think potentiality as pure or absolute potentiality, "beyond every figure of relation" (1998: 47). 43. Agamben thus
connects Benjamins "politics of pure means" with the alternative ontology articulated by Heidegger on the basis of his reading of Aristotles metaphysics. In his 1931 lectures on the Metaphysics (Heidegger, 1981: 114), in his
Nietzsche lectures (1980: 64-65), and in the Letter on humanism (1977: 220), Heidegger had tied the imperative of a "recovery of the question of Being" to a radical rethinking of the categories of modality in which Being is freed
from the productivist paradigm of actualitas. Only through a questioning of the modal logic operating within the onto-theological tradition could a free "ethos" be prepared as a genuine dwelling. Agambens thought owes just as
much to this fundamental inspiration as he does to Benjamin. How much Heideggers ontology of potentiality has exerted a fundamental influence on him is especially clear in the lectures at the Collge international de Philosophie
published under the title Lombre de lamour (1988: 44-46). 44. The description of the radical politics that emerges from the ontology of pure potentiality can be found in The Coming Community, and it is here that the full
consequences of Agambens problematic interpretation and reappropriation of Benjamin, Heidegger, Schmitt and Arendt become apparent. 45. In the notes that Benjamin was writing in preparation for his Theses on the philosophy of
history, one reads: "The messianic world is the world of overall and integral actuality" (Benjamin 1991e: 1235). The last expression is a self-reference to the 1929 essay on surrealism (1991d: 309, [1929]). Against Benjamins explicit
equation of the "real state of exception" (the state of liberated humanity), with actuality, Agambens coming community is a community of subjects that exist only as negative potentialities (actualities that are the possibility of notbeing, actualisations of potentiality), the "whatever singularities". Because he has severed the concept of the community from all normative ties, and has rejected all conceptual and normative distinctions (between state of nature
and civil state, law and violence, nomos and physis, normal state and exception, etc.), this community-to-come can only be ever described negatively, as beyond all forms of community, and accessed only in the flight from all
present and all immanence. It is difficult to avoid thinking that the assumed messianism of this radical politics is only a form of negative theology. Difficult not to think, also, that politics constructed as the "gigantomachy" (Agamben

How can we heed Agambens warning


about the necessity to continue to question the normativity of modernity after
Auschwitz without dissolving politics into onto-theology? This seems to be one of the most pressing
demands for political thought today. 47. If, with Rancire, we define politics not through the institution of
sovereignty, but as a continual struggle for the recognition of basic equality, and
2003: chapter 4) of an onto-theology of power does not lead to the evanescence of politics. Rights, Politics, Contingency 46.

thereby strongly distinguish politics from the police order viewed as the functional
management of communities (Rancire 1999), then it is possible to acknowledge the
normative break introduced by the democratic revolutions of the modern age
without falling into a one-sided view of modernity as a neat process of
rationalisation. What should be stressed about modernity is not primarily the list of
substantive inalienable and imprescriptible human rights , but the equal entitlement
of all to claim any rights at all. This definition of politics must be accompanied by the parallel acknowledgment that
the times that saw the recognition of the fundamental equality of all also produced the total negation of this principle. But this
parallel claim does not necessarily render the first invalid . Rather it points to a tension
inherent in modern communities, between the political demands of equality and the
systemic tendencies that structurally produce stigmatisation and exclusion . 48. One
can acknowledge the descriptive appeal of the biopower hypothesis without
renouncing the antagonistic definition of politics. As Rancire remarks, Foucaults late hypothesis
is more about power than it is about politics (Rancire 2002). This is quite clear in the 1976 lectures (Society must be defended)
where the term that is mostly used is that of "biopower". As Rancire suggests, when the "biopower" hypothesis is transformed into
a "biopolitical" thesis, the very possibility of politics becomes problematic. There is a way of articulating modern disciplinary power
and the imperative of politics that is not disjunctive. The power that subjects and excludes socially can also empower politically
simply because the exclusion is already a form of address which unwittingly provides implicit recognition. Power includes by
excluding, but in a way that might be different from a ban. This insight is precisely the one that Foucault was developing in his last
writings, in his definition of freedom as "agonism" (Foucault 1983: 208-228): "Power is exercised only over free subjects, and only

The hierarchical, exclusionary essence of social structures


demands as a condition of its possibility an equivalent implicit recognition of all ,
even in the mode of exclusion. It is on the basis of this recognition that politics can
sometimes arise as the vindication of equality and the challenge to exclusion . 49. This
insofar as they are free" (221).

proposal rests on a logic that challenges Agambens reduction of the overcoming of the classical conceptualisation of potentiality

Instead of collapsing or dualistically separating


potentiality and actuality, one would find in Hegels modal logic a way to articulate
their negative, or reflexive, unity, in the notion of contingency. Contingency is precisely
the potential as existing, a potential that exists yet does not exclude the possibility of its opposite (Hegel 1969: 541and actuality to the single Heideggerian alternative.

554). Hegel can lead the way towards an ontology of contingency that recognises the place of contingency at the core of necessity,
instead of opposing them. The fact that the impossible became real vindicates Hegels claim that the impossible should not be

the possible and the impossible are only reflected images of


each other and, as actual, are both simply the contingent . Auschwitz should not be called absolute
opposed to the actual. Instead,

necessity (Agamben 1999a: 148), but absolute contingency. The absolute historical necessity of Auschwitz is not "the radical
negation" of contingency, which, if true, would indeed necessitate a flight out of history to conjure up its threat. Its absolute
necessity in fact harbours an indelible core of contingency, the locus where political intervention could have changed things, where
politics can happen. Zygmunt Baumans theory of modernity and his theory about the place and relevance of the Holocaust in
modernity have given sociological and contemporary relevance to this alternative historical-political logic of contingency (Bauman

politics is only the name of the contingency that strikes


at the heart of systemic necessity. An ontology of contingency provides the model with which to think together
1989). 50. In the social and historical fields,

both the possibility, and the possibility of the repetition of, catastrophe, as the one heritage of modernity, and the contingency of

Modernity is ambiguous because it provides


the normative resources to combat the apparent necessity of possible systemic
catastrophes. Politics is the name of the struggle drawing on those resources. 51. This
ontology enables us also to rethink the relationship of modern subjects to rights .
Modern subjects are able to consider themselves autonomous subjects because
legal recognition signals to them that they are recognised as full members of the
community, endowed with the full capacity to judge. This account of rights in modernity is precious
because it provides an adequate framework to understand real political struggles , as
fights for rights. We can see now how this account needs to be complemented by the notion of contingency that
undermines the apparent necessity of the progress of modernity. Modern subjects know that their rights are
granted only contingently, that the possibility of the impossible is always actual . This
catastrophe as logically entailing the possibility of its opposite.

is why rights should not be taken for granted. But this does not imply that they
should be rejected as illusion, on the grounds that they were disclosed as contingent
in the horrors of the 20th century. Instead, their contingency should be the reason
for constant political vigilance. 52. By questioning the rejection of modern rights, one is undoubtedly
unfaithful to the letter of Benjamin. Yet, if one accepts that one of the great weaknesses of the Marxist philosophy of revolution was

politics that
define themselves as the articulation of demands born in the struggles against
injustice are better able to bear witness to the "tradition of the oppressed" than
their messianic counterparts.
its inability to constructively engage with the question of rights and the State, then it might be the case that the

2nc state good


strategic engagement within the law is the only way to end
biopolitical control
Edkins 7 (Jenny Professor of International Politics at Aberystwyth University,
Whatever Politics, in Giorgio Agamben: Sovereignty and Life, Ed. Calarco and
DeCaroli, 2007, p. 84)
What is crucial here is whether the alternative Agamben proposes is radical enough. Does it entail a
refusal of the machine, or merely a reinstatement of it with a different "definition" of what it means to be human? In The Open,

Agamben does seem to reject Heidegger's problematic separation of Dasein, as a being that can see the
open, from the animal, poor in world, that cannot.45 Ultimately, Agamben appears to be
arguing that any negation of the machine cannot be accomplished on a philosophical
plane, but only in terms of practice. In the end, practice or human action, not philosophy, is what
counts. Ontology and philosophy are to be considered only to the extent that
they are political operators and, specifically, biopolitical weapons in the service of the
anthropological machine of sovereignty. In order to try to stop the biopolitical machine that
produces bare life, what is needed is human action, "which once claimed for itself the
name of 'politics'" (SE, 88). It is because there is no necessary articulation "between
violence and law, between life and norm," that it is possible to attempt to interrupt or halt
the machine, to "loosen what has been artificially and violently linked " (SE, 87). This
opens a space for a return not to some "lost original state" but to human praxis and political
action (SE, 88).

2nc t version of aff


A politics of dissent from the state beginining from our appeal
to hope in the face of the security state and War on Terror
allows us to create political communities around dissensus and
inspire ethical resistance
Critchley 7 (Simon Professor of Philosophy at the New School, Infinitely
Demanding: Ethics of Commitment, Politics of Resistance, Verso, 2007, p. 111-114)
Keeping these examples of the political function of rights in mind, I would like to move on to the question of the state. We inhabit

The state whether national like Britain or France, a supranational quasi-state like the EU, or imperial like the USA
is the framework within which conventional politics takes place . Now, it is arguable
states.

that the state is a limitation on human existence and we would be better off without it. It is arguable that without state systems of
government, bureaucracy, the police and the military, human beings would be able to cooperate with each other on the basis of free
agreement and not merely through obedience to law. It is arguable that interwoven networks of such cooperative associations might
begin to cover all fields of human activity so as to substitute themselves for the state. It is arguable that the vertical hierarchy of the
state structure could be replaced with horizontally allied associations of free, self-determining human beings. Such is, of course, the
eternal temptation of the anarchist tradition, particularly for someone like Kropotkin, and I will come back to anarchism in more

we cannot hope, at this point


in history, to attain a complete withering away of the state, either through concerted
detail below. However to put it at its most understated it seems to me that

anarchosyndicalist or anarcho-communist action or through revolutionary proletarian praxis with the agency of the party. Within
classical Marxism, state, revolution and class form a coherent set: there is a revolutionary class, the universal or classless class of
the proletariat whose communist politics entails the overthrow of the bourgeois state. The locus classicus for this position is Lenin's
State and Revolution, a text that is, in my view, fatally sundered by conflicting authoritarian and anarchist tendencies. On the one
hand, in the name of the 'authentic' Marx, Lenin claims that the bourgeois state must be smashed and replaced by a democratically
centralist workers' state the dictatorship of the proletariat but, on the other hand, he claims that this is only a pre-condition
for the eventual withering away of the state in communism or what he calls the 'fullest democracy'. 29 The condition of possibility
for the Leninist withering away of the state is the emergence of a revolutionary class, the proletariat, whom Hardt and Negri seek to
update into the multitude. 30 Now, if class positions are not simplifying, but on the contrary becoming more complex through the
processes of social dislocation described in this chapter, if the revolution is no longer conceivable in a Marxist-Leninist manner, then

we are stuck with the state. The question then


becomes: what should our political strategy be with regard to the state , to
the state and states that we're in? In a period when the revolutionary proletarian subject has decidedly
broken down, and along with it the political project of a withering away of the state, I think that politics should be
conceived at a distance from the state .31 Or, better, politics is the praxis of
taking up distance with regard to the state, working independently of the
state, working in a situation. Politics is praxis in a situation and the labour of politics
is the construction of new political subjectivities , new political
aggregations in specific localities , a new dissensual habitus rooted in
common sense and the consent of those who dissent. In addition to the examples of the
that means that, for good or ill let's say for ill

politics of indigenous rights discussed above, this is arguably a description of the sort of direct democratic action that has provided
the cutting edge and momentum to radical politics since the days of action against the meeting of the WTO in Seattle in 1999 and
subsequently at Prague, Nice, Genoa, Quito, Cancun and elsewhere. 32 In the face of the massive re-territorialization of state power
in the West after 9/11, this movement has continued in the huge mobilizations against US and UK intervention in Iraq, and in
numerous other protests, such as the opposition to the Republican National Convention in New York in late summer 2004.

Despite obvious electoral failures, it is the experience of such mobilizations


that provides, in my view, the ethical energy for a remotivation of politics and
future democratic organization. However, to forestall a possible misunderstanding, this distance
from the state is within the state, that is, within and upon the state's
territory . It is, we might say, an interstitial distance , an internal distance that
has to be opened from the inside. What I mean, seemingly paradoxically , is that
there is no distance within the state. In the time of the purported 'war on
terror', and in the name of 'security', state sovereignty is attempting to saturate the
entirety of social life. The constant ideological mobilization of the threat of external

attack has permitted the curtailments of traditional civil liberties in the name of
internal political order, so-called 'homeland security', where order and security have
become identified. Such is the politics of fear, where the political might be defined with Carl Schmitt as that activity which
assures the internal order of a political unit like a state through the more or less fantastic threat of the enemy. 33 Against this, the
task of radical political articulations is the creation of interstitial distance
within the state territory. The Mexican example of indigenous identity
discussed above is a powerful instance of the creation of such a distance ,
an act of political leverage where the invocation of an international legal
convention created the space for the emergence of a new political subject .
Similarly, political activism around the so-called illegal immigrants in Paris, the sans-papiers, is the attempt to create an interstitial
distance whose political demand 'if one works in France, one is French' invokes the principle of equality at the basis of the French

One works within the state against the state in a political articulation
that attempts to open a space of opposition. Perhaps it is at this intensely
situational, indeed local level that the atomizing, expropriating force of
neo-liberal globalization is to be met, contested and resisted. That is,
resistance begins by occupying and controlling the terrain upon which one
stands, where one lives, works, acts and thinks. This needn't involve millions
of people. It needn't even involve thousands. It could involve just a few at
first. Resistance can be intimate and can begin in small affinity groups . The
art of politics consists in weaving such cells of resistance together into a
common front, a shared political subjectivity. What is going to allow for the
formation of such a political subjectivity the hegemonic glue, if you will is an appeal to
universality, whether the demand for political representation, equality of
treatment or whatever. It is the hope, indeed the wager, of this book that the ethical
demand described above the infinite responsibility that both constitutes
and divides my subjectivity might allow that hegemonic glue to set into
the compact, self-aware, fighting force that motivates the subject into the
political action spoken of in the epigraph to this chapter.
republic.

h-triv

1nc
Agamben trivializes and decontextualizes the Holocaust
Marion 6 (Esther SUNY Brockport, The Nazi Genocide and the Writing of the
Holocaust Aporia: Ethics and Remnants of Auschwitz, in MLN, Volume 121, Number
4, 2006, https://muse.jhu.edu/journals/mln/v121/121.4marion.html)
I find it disturbing that Agamben, citing Benjamin to criticize the commodification of the body, evokes in
the same breath automobile accidents, an advertisement for stockings, and the
image and memory of the Nazi genocide as points of access to "whatever being." While
I am not suggesting that he recuperates or glamorizes atrocity, which he claims not to do, appropriating Holocaust
victims and "daily [human] slaughter" to call for anonymous being turns genocide
to pulp. In the stockings ad, "neither an image of the divinity nor an animal form, the body now became something truly
whatever." Rather than seeking "the whatever body," or "a resemblance without archetypein other words, an Idea" in images of
extermination camps, perhaps Holocaust memory should "link together image and body" in historical and human terms. Perhaps
"the double chains of biological destiny and individual biography" of Auschwitz should be reconstructed rather than gladly

Agamben takes a very different approach to the Holocaust.


posits the extermination campsin disturbing
and absurd revisionist terms"not as a historical fact and an anomaly belonging to
the past (even if still verifiable) but in some way as the hidden matrix and nomos of the
political space in which we are still living." 17 Reflecting on how states decide the ethico-political question of
surpassed. In Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life,

Following the thread of Foucault's thinking of biopolitics, he

what life is worthy of being lived, he elaborates the "zone of indistinction" between zoe and bios, between bare life versus qualified
life, and human versus animal life.18 This question, as we have seen, is developed subsequently in Homo Sacer III, Remnants of
Auschwitz, in which, however, Agamben departs from a biopolitical historical frame to transform the human/non-human dichotomy
into a philosophically [End Page 1018] grounded question of subjectivity in the "ethical subject," the survivor, who bears witness to

The problem in this conception of self lies in the tension that arises from
the historical life to which this self is consigned and the use of the Holocaust in this
paradigm that disparages the real. This may be felt most acutely at the end of Agamben's text. He argues that
the inhuman.

"Levi's paradox" (a phrase Agamben coins) and in fact all Holocaust testimonies "articulate a possibility of speech solely through an
impossibility, and in this way, mark the taking place of a language as the event of a subjectivity" (164). To say that the survivor
bears witness to the Muselmann, the name for that which cannot be said in language, and "speaks only on the basis of an
impossibility of speaking," Agamben relies on the historical silence of this figure to articulate his structure. In Agamben's formulation
of "Levi's paradox," "I was a Muselmann" (165) implies a direct contradiction of Agamben's model of the absolute, silent witness.
Considering Agamben's reflections in The Coming Community and Potentialities, it is clear that the model of the self he is putting
forth is embodied in his reading of the Holocaust survivor who like Bartleby and the messianic Aher exists as potentiality revealing

This construct displaces entirely the historical and


individual memorial nature of the survivor. While Agamben paradoxically claims that the fact that there are
the event of language, the capacity to speak.

actual Muselmnner who bear witness to their experiences adds weight to his argument, their testimony does not articulate "this

Are we to hear in their testimonies of cruel suffering and


degradation in the Nazi death camps "the unsaid," "an essential lacuna"? The same
extreme formulation" (165) of paradox.

question that arises when Agamben speaks of the poetic self presses here: What status is left for the historical self in a subject that

Agamben eliminates the


human survivor and his or her living testimony: "the witnessesare neither the
dead nor the survivors, neither the drowned nor the saved. They are what remains
between them" (164). What remains of the Nazi genocide if its testimony is
heard as the silence of an ideal theoretical subject?
is "the central threshold through which pass currents of the human and the inhuman" (135)?

This is highbrow Holocaust revisionism --- reject it, its a


decision rule
Marion 6 (Esther SUNY Brockport, The Nazi Genocide and the Writing of the
Holocaust Aporia: Ethics and Remnants of Auschwitz, in MLN, Volume 121, Number
4, 2006, https://muse.jhu.edu/journals/mln/v121/121.4marion.html)

Positing the Holocaust as an ultimate rupture denies it a vital place in memory and
history, leaving a space of erasure rather than inquiry . Deconstruction has been
criticized in this vein for its ahistorical tendencies, fueled by the de Man affair, and has even been labeled "in
effect, though certainly not in intention, the highbrow version of Holocaust revisionism ."21
Writing in defense of de Man's silence, Derrida underlines the antitotalitarian face of deconstruction: "There can still be, and in spite
of them, residual adherences to the discourse one is claiming to combat. And deconstruction is, in particular, the tireless analysis

The difficulty lies, simplistically, in the gulf between a


school of thought suspicious of and at times disparaging of historical, human reality
and an event, an unprecedented genocide, that cannot be separated from this reality, and the
(both theoretical and practical) of these adherences."22

writing of which actualizes linguistic and subjective problematics taken up by deconstruction. Stanley Corngold writes that de Man
"is a great philosopher of the inhuman condition. This is, as he tirelessly repeats, a condition in which the important relations are
necessarily inhuman. It is no individual poet but "poetic language" that engages "in its highest intent [. . .]."23 This brings to mind

Agamben's text, which is problematic, however, [End Page 1020] not for its concern with "the inhuman condition,"
but for its dehumanization of the Holocaust to reach its end. The disabling of representation by a
subject-position overwhelmed by the rupture of this event threatens to prevent rather than preserve memory. The other end of the
pendulum can be seen in the attempts of certain participants in the Historikerstreit to normalize and contextualize the Holocaust.24
The dilemma, then, is how to preserve the singularity and atrocity of the camps without totalizing understanding, that is, how to
frame empirical facts without closure. LaCapra proposes such an approach: Rather, objectivity could be seen as a difficult, never
fully achieved objective that was not even desirable in its imaginary total state and that in its justifiable, desirable forms (related to
accuracy, meticulous empirical research, and rigorous argumentation) had to be elaborated by working through transferential
relations, resistances, denials, and repressions. Also required were the explicit acknowledgement and the possible transformation of
subject-positions as one engaged in historical research and self-understanding.25 Saul Friedlnder calls for a dynamic historical
consciousness to negotiate the tension between unsayability and a master narrative, while maintaining the excess of this event, its

What is suggested, then, is far from the


sanctification of the Holocaust or a censoring of its uses , but a self-critical
approach grounded in historiographical investigation that maintains a zone of
incomprehensibility written through an ethically impelled individual voice .27 At stake
is the capacity to maintain for collective memory a vitality and truthfulness in
writing through an ethical consciousness that both assumes the past and points to
what cannot be assumed, offering a self-reflexive approach: a representation traversed by the currents of its
possibility to "signify more than the sum of its components."26

limitations, both the message of its voice and the presence of the unknowable speaking to the future, [End Page 1021] in an effort to
negotiate new critical discourses joining ethical communication and unspeakability. "Try to Look. Just Try and See."28 Perhaps the
new ethical terrain opened by Auschwitz lies in the very challenge offered to its potential cartographers: to listen and forge
responsive and responsible approaches to the ethical and human weight of this past rather than to surpass it or to surrender to an

By appropriating Holocaust survivors and their testimonies to


articulate anonymous being and the unsayable in language , the inhuman, Agamben
makes a lacuna of the horror of Auschwitzof its empirical reality, victims and
participantsin Remnants of Auschwitz. Positioning the Nazi genocide and its survivors on the threshold to a
ethical and historical aporia.

linguistic abyss in a messianic schema silences the pleas of testimony, witnesses and history in the name of "whatever being."
Perhaps what remains of Auschwitz demands not a rejection of but a revised engagement with "the name of ethics" (13), rather than
"the name of the name": we must bear witness to disaster.

2nc
Anti-semitism is no joke --- reject them
Gerstenfeld 8 (Dr. Manrfed Austrian-born Israeli author and former Chairman of
the Steering Committee of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, founded and
directed the Center's Post-Holocaust and Anti-Semitism program, Holocaust
Trivialization, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, 4-9-8,
http://jcpa.org/article/holocaust-trivialization/)
Holocaust comparisons for their ideological purposes want to exaggerate the evil nature of a
phenomenon they condemn. With the Holocaust symbolizing absolute evil for many, they use it as an instrument for
Those abusing

their purposes. Holocaust trivialization manifests itself partly in the growing use of language concerning a large number of disparate
events that have no connection to genocide. Other trivializers operate out of commercial or artistic considerations. Unlike in the
case of most other distortions of the Holocaust, the trivializers usually do not target Jews. Holocaust distortion has been increasing
in recent years. It manifests itself in a great variety of manipulations of history.1 Among the best known are Holocaust denial,2
Holocaust depreciation, and Holocaust inversion3-the portraying of Israel, Israelis, and Jews as Nazis. Most of these distortions aim
at harming Jews or Israel. Holocaust trivialization is a tool for some ideologically or politically motivated activists to metaphorically
compare phenomena they oppose to the industrial-scale destruction of the Jews in World War II by Germans, Austrians, and their
allies. Examples include environmental problems, abortion, the slaughter of animals, the use of tobacco, and human rights abuses.
None of these bear any fundamental resemblance to the manmade genocide of the 1940s. Those who abuse Holocaust comparisons
for their ideological purposes wish to exaggerate the evil nature of a phenomenon they condemn. With the Holocaust symbolizing
absolute evil for many, they use it as an instrument for their purposes and thus abuse the centrality of the Holocaust discourse in
contemporary society. The perceived evil to which they compare the Holocaust, however, does not share its major characteristics.
These include the systematic defamation, exclusion, torturing, and destruction of specific people in a society. Another element is
that all belonging to this category are targeted.

Trivialization goes beyond hurting the sensitivities

of

Jews, by abusing the memory of the murdered victims as well. Holocaust trivialization also manifests itself
partly in the growing use of comparisons of disparate events to elements bearing no resemblance to the Holocaust. Many trivializers
operate out of commercial or artistic considerations; others are just insensitive. Distortions Overlap Several Holocaust

distortions overlap. Comparisons of current wars, specific actions, or


individuals to Nazi actions or leaders should be treated as a separate category, namely, postwar Holocaust
equivalence. Examples are comparisons of U.S. presidents such as Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush to Hitler, or of
the actions of the United States and its allies in Iraq and Afghanistan to those of Nazi Germany. The Holocaust-equivalence category
encompasses a broad range of other incidents. In early 2008 Daniel Hannan, a British Conservative Member of the European
Parliament, said there that the powers given the Parliaments president reminded him of the tactics used by the Nazi government of
Germany to govern without parliamentary consent.4 As aforementioned, among the better-known ideological or political causes of
the trivializers are, for instance, environmentalism, animal rights or pro-life activism, the stopping of smoking, or human rights
abuses. What binds the heterogeneous perpetrators of Holocaust trivialization together is their methods. These distortions and
others led Nobel Laureate and Holocaust survivor Eli Wiesel to write as early as 1988: I cannot use [the word Holocaust] anymore.
First, because there are no words, and also because it has become so trivialized that I cannot use it anymore. Whatever mishap
occurs now, they call it holocaust. I have seen it myself in television in the country in which I live. A commentator describing the
defeat of a sports team, somewhere, called it a holocaust. I have read in a very prestigious newspaper published in California, a

trivializing
comparisons to the Holocaust are rarely elaborated on. This manipulation differs in its mode of distorting from
Holocaust denial, in part because the trivializers do not target Jews and also because it rarely develops any detailed
description of the murder of six people, and the author called it a holocaust. So, I have no words anymore.5 The

arguments about the Holocaust. One hardly sees statements explaining what the defining elements of the Holocaust were and how
the phenomenon metaphorically compared to it has all or most of the same components. This characteristic of the manipulation is
due to the fact that the desired effect is achieved mainly by the abusive mention of the Holocaust. The manipulation is therefore
relatively easy to expose, by pointing out that crucial criminal components of the Holocaust are lacking in what is being compared to
it. A consideration of some examples of trivialization, and reactions to them, indicates both the manipulative character of this
distortion and how it can be deconstructed. The Environmental Holocaust Environmentalists are one group among which Holocaust
trivializers are found. They often regard global warming as the main contemporary threat to humanity. Ellen Goodman, a Boston
Globe columnist, wrote that it is no longer possible to deny global warming. She invoked the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate
Change, which claimed it was 90 percent certain that global warming was the result of human activity. From there she moved on: I
would like to say were at a point where global warming is impossible to deny. Lets just say that global warming deniers are now on
a par with Holocaust deniers, though one denies the past and the other denies the present and future.6 Well-known talk-show host
Dennis Prager responded by castigating Goodmans statement. He first noted that it reflected the fact that most people on the Left
see their ideological adversaries as bad people. On the other hand, those on the Right tend to view their adversaries as wrong,
perhaps even dangerous, but not usually as bad. It might be inconceivable to Goodman, Prager observed, that one could disagree
with global warming forecasts without evil motives. He further asserted that contemporary liberalism would tend to question the
moral authority of Judeo-Christian religions or of any secular conservative authority, but not of any other authority such as the
United Nations. Prager also pointed out that If questioning global warming is on a par with questioning the Holocaust, how bad can
questioning the Holocaust really be? He added that while liberal and left-wing organizations had agreed with Goodmans
statements, none had condemned her Holocaust comparison. Prager concluded that Goodmans assertion marked the beginning of
what is becoming one of the largest campaigns of vilification of decent people in history-the global condemnation ofanyone who

questions global warming.7 Many others abuse the Holocaust to promote environmental aims. Bob Burnett, who defines himself as
a writer, activist, and Quaker, claimed in an attack on a televangelist who had written about the dirty politics of the environmental
movement that It took less than ten years for Nazi anti-Semitism to produce the death of six million European Jews. How long will
it take for the effects of global climate change to result in similar loss of life?8 It is similarly easy to claim that many people in the
world die as a result of poor health, malnourishment, and inappropriate diets. Given todays societal mood we may well read one
day about the diet Holocaust or the hamburger Holocaust. Al Gore Comparing potential ecological disaster to the Holocaust is
not a new phenomenon. On 19 March 1989, the then senator from Tennessee, Al Gore, published an op-ed in the New York Times
titled An Ecological Kristallnacht. Listen. Gore called upon all humankind to heed the warning: the evidence is as clear as the
sounds of glass shattering in Berlin.9 In 2007 Gore, by then a Nobel Laureate and former vice-president, continued to use Holocaust
imagery for environmental purposes. As part of his advocacy, twice in December 2007, he criticized many world leaders for ignoring
the threat of climate change in the same way that former British prime minister Chamberlain and other world leaders had ignored
the dangers posed by Hitler. Gore voiced the same sentiments as almost two decades earlier: Once again world leaders waffle,
hoping the danger will dissipate. Canadian Green Party leader Elizabeth May justified Gores remarks, explaining: Its not a literal
comparison that says somehow climate change is like Hitler. Climate change is not like Hitler. Hitler is an individual who managed to
construct a political party and then, through democratic elections, a nation that was prepared to go along with genocide. This is not
like that. But the moral failure of those who stand by-thats the comparison. A representative of an umbrella organization for
Canadian Jewish groups responded that Mays statements supported positions that were obscene and absolutely unnecessary for
anyone, even Gore.10 Opponents of Environmental Measures Opponents of environmental measures sometimes also refer abusively
to the Holocaust. In 2004 Andrei Illarionov, an economic adviser to President Putin, recommended that Russia should not sign the
Kyoto Protocol, which he called a death pact that would strangle economic growth and economic activity in countries that accept
the protocols requirements. He likened the protocol to Auschwitz.11 Glenn Beck, a television and radio host and author, compared
Gores campaign against global warming to elements of the Holocaust, saying: Al Gores not going to be rounding up Jews and
exterminating them; it is the same tactic however. The goal is different. The goal is globalization. The goal is global carbon tax. The
goal is the United Nations running the world. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) denounced Becks remarks and said they were
part of a troubling epidemic on the airwaves, where comparisons to Hitler and the Holocaust are becoming all-too facile. The ADLs

linkage of Hitlers plan to round up and exterminate Jews


with Al Gores efforts to raise awareness of global warming is outrageous, insensitive, and deeply
offensive.12 The Abortion Holocaust Abortion opponents have probably mobilized the best-known distorters of the Holocaust.
national director Abraham Foxman asserted: Glenn Becks

One of these was Pope John Paul II who, in his 2005 book Memory and Identity, compared abortion to the Holocaust. He wrote that
both abortion and the murder of six million Jews were the result of humans under the guise of democracy usurping the law of
God.13 Then-Cardinal Josef Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, claimed at the launching of the Popes book that the Pope was not
equating abortion with the Holocaust.14 In another incident involving the Catholic Church, the Archbishop of Cologne in Germany,
Cardinal Joachim Meisner, provoked much unrest when he put women who had had an abortion in a row with mass murderers like
Hitler, Stalin and Herod. He compares abortion to the Holocaust and the abortion pill with Zyklon B, the gas used by the Nazis in the
extermination camps. Condemnation came even from groups that some may have expected to be supportive. The ecumenical
movement Initiative Kirche told the press, Meisner has completely lost his authority as a bishop and has publicly done a great
wrong to the Catholic Church and to dialogue between Jews and Christians. Paul Spiegel, the then president of the Central Council
of Jews in Germany, said the cardinal had insulted the millions of victims of the Holocaust. He added that The Catholic Church does
not understand or does not want to understand that there is an enormous difference between mass genocide and what women do
with their bodies. Spiegel also linked the Popes remarks to the earlier statements by Cardinal Meisner.15 Jim Hughes of the
International Right to Life Federation told LifeSiteNews.com, In todays relativistic times, it seems the only evil which still touches
people whose hearts have grown cold are the atrocities of Hitler. The comparison not only fits like a glove, but is necessary to bring
people out of their blissfully ignorant slumber.16 On many other occasions abortion and other phenomena have been compared to
genocide and mass murder, rather than specifically to the Holocaust. The Associated Press reported that Displays of bloody

next to pictures of the collapsing World Trade Center, a black lynching victim hanging from a tree and corpses at a
concentration camp were among the disturbing billboards at the University of New Hampshire put up by a national antiabortion group, the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform.17 These billboards liken the genocide of the Holocaust to
abortion and victims of 9/11 and racism.
fetuses

terror da links

1nc
Biometrics are key to checkpoint security
Gray 8 (Myra Director G-3/5/7 Biometrics Task Force at the US Department of
Defense, Terrorism and New Biometrics Technologies, in Security Magazine, 11-18, http://www.securitymagazine.com/articles/79463-terrorism-and-new-biometricstechnologies-1)
Implementing biometrics-based technologies has increased in recent years and is
helping to protect the nation and multi-national enterprises by keeping people
and assets more secure. New, lightweight, multimodal devices help make distinguishing
between an insurgent and a civilian in a war environment easier . Two such technologies, a
laptop-based system deployed as the Biometric Automated Toolset (BAT), and the Handheld Interagency Identity Detection
Equipment (HIIDE), capture fingerprint, iris and facial data. The BAT collects this biometric data and stores it on a central server in a
secure network. Currently, there are over 1,000 active BATs in Iraq. The HIIDE, similar in size to a large camera, connects directly to
the BAT and matches inputs against a biometric watch list of up to 10,000 individuals. The HIIDE is a shock-resistant collection and
identification device. Able to capture fingerprint, iris and facial images, almost 7,000 of these devices have been deployed in Iraq

Interagency communication and


compatibility greatly increase the capabilities of biometrics in the fight against
terrorism. In 2004, the Department of Defense (DoD) created a centralized biometric database called the Automated Biometric
and Afghanistan thus far. IDENTIFYNG THOSE ON THE WATCH LIST

Identification System (ABIS). This collection and storage system is compatible with the system used by the FBI so that matches may
be made between the two databases.

Known enemy biometric matches are flagged for further

action and analysis. Biometrics standards conformance testing of these tactical devices is conducted by the Biometrics
Task Force (BTF). The BTFs mission is to lead DoD activities to program, integrate and synchronize biometric technologies and
capabilities. The BTF also operates and maintains the DoDs authoritative biometric database to support the National Security
Strategy. By creating and sustaining a biometric database, DoD not only has records of some known threats, but can help identify

A 2004 bombing in Mosul, Iraq, resulted in a need for a system to


more securely monitor and grant access to only authorized individuals . The Biometric
Identification System for Access (BISA) was developed and has since been used by analysts to issue more
than 220,000 military base access cards and permanently bar more than 800
individuals from having access. This smartcard-based system has increased base
and checkpoint security with the use of biometrics-enabled badges and
employee screening. MAKING A DIFFERENCE Biometric technologies, especially those that can easily be
used on the battlefield, are making a difference in the current fight against terrorism
by protecting both the warfighter and the homeland. Ongoing assessment and evaluation of
those threats in active operations.

biometric equipment will help enhance effectiveness and efficiency of those technologies.

2nc
Biometrics could have prevented 9/11, stopped Osama Bin
Laden and have stopped numerous criminals from getting
away
Gorman 11 (Christine reporter at Scientific American, How Biometrics Helped to
Identify the Master Terrorist, in Scientific American, 5-2-11,
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-biometrics-helped-to-identify-masterterrorist/)
When the U.S. military attacked Iraq in March 2003, it brought to bear the most advanced technology then available for identifying
potential terrorists by their physical features. The equipment measured all sorts of physical featuresfrom fingerprints to images of
the irisbut it was not particularly easy to use. The apparatus weighed a hefty 50 pounds and consisted of a hardened laptop

the toolkit used to identify


Osama bin Laden in his Pakistani hideout was probably a lot like one of the
handheld devices that are now routinely used by thousands of U.S. soldiers throughout the world to
hooked up to a camera, an iris scanner and a fingerprint device. Eight years later,

compare people's faces against the images of many known or suspected terrorists. Dubbed the HIIDE, for Handheld Interagency
Identity Detection Equipment, the instrument looks like an overgrown camera and weighs between 2 and 3 pounds. In addition,
soldiers took tissue samples for use in DNA analysis that later confirmed the master terrorist's identity with nearly 100 percent

The use of biometricsstandardized measurement of various physical and behavioral featureshas


come a long way in the intervening years. There have been two driving forces behind the breakthroughs:
The first was the realization that seven of the 19 September 11 hijackers were
known to authorities and had used false identity papers to gain entry to the U.S . "If
we had had biometrics on them and we had known they were using someone
else's identity, we could have stopped them," Lt. Colonel Kathy Debolt (retired) told an identity
accuracy.

research conference in 2008. Debolt led the development of the identity assessment tool that the military started using in Iraq. In
the aftermath of Sept. 11, the U.S. Defense Department and the National Institute of Standards and Technology poured millions of
dollars into various biometrics research programs. The second impetus to change was the incredible boost in computer processing
power of the 1990s: increased speed allowed the devices to access the databases that lie at the heart of biometric identification
systems and compare thousands of features in fractions of a second, providing useful answers just after an individual has been
detained or while a person is still in custody. Even some of the centuries-old standards have benefited from the enhanced computer
processing power. Fingerprinting was first proposed as a crime-fighting measure in the late 1800s and Paul Revere used dental
records to identify the body of a Revolutionary War hero killed at the Battle of Bunker Hill. By the late 1990s, the FBI had

The law enforcement


agency is now in the process of adopting a new system that can return results in
minutes, according to Peter Higgins, who helped the FBI automate its fingerprinting process 15 years ago and is now a
consultant in the biometrics industry. The newer methods of identification rely heavily on both
probability theory and precise measurement . It is not enough just to measure accurately the distance
between someone's eyes, for example; the biometric calculation also must take into account how
common the result is in a given population . By combining the results of multiple measurements (iris scans,
length of nose, distance from top to bottom of lip), users can come up with highly credible matches.
computerized the process of matching fingerprints, allowing results in a matter of hours.

Iris scans have been widely used in Afghanistan to streamline the entry of construction workers and other laborers into military
bases. Iris scans can also return usable images from corpses for up to 12 hours after death, Higgins says, depending on the
condition of the body. But Osama bin Laden is unlikely to have sat still for an iris scan while he was alive in order to provide a
comparison image. As for civilian use, iris scans are reliable enough that they have been used in some European airports for a
couple of years now to automate passport control for frequent fliers who are willing to register a grayscale image of the front of their
eyes with authorities.* Several British airports are now going one step further and testing facial recognition software that allows
travelers to skip the immigration lines and process themselves into the country. As facial recognition software gets better and
better, concerns over privacy for ordinary citizens have mounted. The best results occur when the software can compare high-

millions of people
already have such images of themselves on file in their driver's licenses . In 2009, the
FBI used facial recognition software to nab a suspect in a double -homicide who
they believed had fled from California to North Carolina . The authorities compared a 1991 booking
definition images taken in standardized settingsnot a frequent locale for a shadowy terrorist. But

photo of the suspect against the 30 million photos that the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles had on file. Twenty-eight

An FBI analyst then whittled the number down to just one


man, who was later arrested and positively identified as the fugitive .
photos came up as possible matches.

Biometrics increase certainty of verification which is key to


preventing terrrorism
Adkins 7 (Lauren D. University of Michigan Law School, Biometrics: Weighing
Convenience and National Security against Your Privacy, in Michigan
Telecommunications and Technology Law Review, Volume 13, Issue 2,
http://repository.law.umich.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1096&context=mttlr)
Most proponents of biometric modalities cite national security needs in defense of
biometrics in light of the fact that illegal immigration and terrorism have become a
significant concern.' 9 Intertwined with these concerns are international travel and
trade considerations. Biometric systems offer a unique solution by aiding
government officials (and businesses) in determining who to include and who to exclude
with speed, accuracy and convenience. Such systems allow society to draw the delicate balance between
national security and international commerce. Moreover, when compared to a cavity search or police
interrogation, the nationwide application of biometrics is appealing in that most
methods are unintrusive (i.e. finger and hand scans) and do not stray far from the identity
verification practices with which we have grown accustomed . In a world where obtaining false
documents and identification is only a click away, biometrics offer a pricey, yet attractive, alternativeidentification and verification with a higher degree of certainty than current
practices. What makes these systems so useful is their ability to conduct onetomany matches in large databases. For example, high-end automated fingerprint identification systems (AFIS) are
highly accurate, scanning ten fingers with flat or rolled impressing and boasting failure-to-match and false match rates close to zero,
depending on the matching algorithm used. They simply add physical and/or behavioral characteristics to identity information. The
US-VISIT system adopted by the Department of Homeland Security captures and stores data concerning those entering the
country.2 Fingers are scanned and a digital photograph is taken in order to verify individuals before allowing them into the country.2
' The same is true of modalities used for verification purposes; except, instead of tracking criminals, biometrics can allow or restrict
anyone's access to sensitive areas, as needed.

marx links

1nc
Fear of the state allows neoliberal economics to fill in
Colatrella 11 (Steven taught at Bard College and the New School, and has
served as Chair of the Political and Social Sciences Department at John Cabot
University in Rome, and as President of the Iowa Sociological Association, Nothing
Exceptional: Against Agamben, in Journal for Critical Education Policy Studies
Volume 9, Number 1, http://www.jceps.com/wp-content/uploads/PDFs/09-105.pdf)//BW
As a logical deconstruction of the power of the state in relation to citizens, as a coherent explanation, with empirical
evidence drawn from the histories of every Western nation state over the past century or so, Agambens work has
already become classic. Conferences are dedicated to its insights and works by others seek to extend his theories
to both new acts of aggrandizement by state powers and new members of society - Roma, or immigrants - who
might fit his description of what Hegel might have called the concrete universal of the human condition. This essay
intends to show, however, that Agambens approach to understanding both state power and
the condition of the disenfranchised - both extreme poles of political life as understood in the titles of the two books

- is deeply flawed and even dangerous and counter-productive for those


seeking any effective defense against, and counter to the policies and practices that
noted above

Agamben is warning us about. After a brief discussion of Agambens theories of state of exception and of homo

the use of
traditional categories of Marxism and historical materialism will better enable us to
understand the modern state, and its relationship to the political and legal
dispossession and even physical destruction of human beings under its authority (or
sacer - of the sovereign power and of the legally dispossessed that it represses - I will show that

at least its power). Further, will attempt to show that only by analyzing modern history through the key categories

understanding the rise of democracy through class


struggle and the response to expropriation and exploitation, can we approach the
reasons for the current waves of political repression of civil liberties . By doing so, I hope to
of enclosure and expropriation, and

show that by following a now decades-long approach of assuming the autonomy of the political and by basing his
work on influences that stem from various traditions of seeing politics as autonomous, ranging from the liberal

Agamben fails to explain


why the very phenomena he is addressing are occurring in the first place. Homo Sacer
Hannah Arendt to the Nazi Carl Schmitt to the postmodernist Michel Foucault,

and State of Exception The Sovereign wrote Nazi lawyer and political theorist Carl Schmitt, is he who decides on

The state of exception, or state of emergency, is that moment in


which all constitutional and legal limits can be superseded or done away with,
annulled or set aside, ultimately at the whim or dictate of the sovereign . The latters
a state of exception .

power in any case was never really limited by these legal restraints, even if this sovereign for their own reasons
abided by such formal limits for a time. In this case Schmitts sovereign is Hobbes Leviathan on steroids, though
the line of ancestry is clear, since once sovereignty is given over by people in a state of Hobbesian nature (where a
war of all against all predominates and life is nasty, brutish and short) Hobbes Leviathan state power likewise has

the state of exception is


the basis of all law in the first place, in that it is only under conditions of a state of
exception that law itself can be created and constitutions imposed. In other words, law is
no limits or legal restraints other than those that it sees fit to impose. Further,

not a product of law, for either Schmitt or for Hobbes, but of a state where there is not law. The difference is
important however. For Hobbes it is the lawless state - presumably a one-time affair at least ontologically if not
historically - that leads to the creation of law which is the product of the sovereign. For Schmitt, that power is
always in a position to set aside all law and create new law. But creating new law is by definition an exceptional
moment, one that is an exercise of power and that steps over the bounds of all previously existing (and by
implication illusory) legal limits. What is remarkable is how influential this approach to sovereignty has been on the
political left for some time now. Already in the 1980s Telos magazine devoted an entire issue to Carl Schmitt. Work
by postmodern Marxist Toni Negri has used Schmitts concept of constituent power - of that political moment
when a force exists able to constitute a new constitutional/social order outside of all previous legal or constitutional
structures, the moment in which new structures or institutions or arrangements can be created - as

a strategic

device to hold open the revolutionary possibilities of transforming society to do


away with capitalism. Where Negri is optimistic, largely through philosophical
speculation, while as always thin on empirical evidence, Agamben is pessimistic . For
him, the state of exception is now not so exceptional. Rather its very imminence, its very existence as a possibility
always under the modern state has now led to it becoming the predominant political form in liberal democratic
countries as well as authoritarian ones. Agamben traces the roots of states of exception in the historical
declarations of states of emergency in every western nation with painstaking and extremely valuable detail, with
the intention of showing that these historical antecedents have developed into a monstrous reality that is now
poised to be the everyday reality and the political common sense of the relation of human beings to the
governments they live under . It gets worse. For with the aggrandizement of state sovereign power imposing a
permanent state of exception, despite the etymological paradox of such a condition, comes the reduction of
members of society from citizenship, from legally protected social belonging endowed with human rights or civil
rights, to humans stripped of all legal protection, all rights, and dispossessed of societal membership. Thus comes
their reduction, leaning on a concept from Hannah Arendt, to bare life, to mere physical existence whose
precariousness is vulnerable to the whim of either state power or even the hostility of their neighbors who may

Given the lack of any


restraint on state powers ability to impose a state of exception, various parts of the
population now, and in principle potentially all of us, are in danger of being reduced
to this condition of bare life, which Agamben calls Homo Sacer .
decide that their very existence could prove to be inconvenient or undesirable.

2nc
Agamben doesnt account for class, and has no explanatory
power
Colatrella 11 (Steven taught at Bard College and the New School, and has
served as Chair of the Political and Social Sciences Department at John Cabot
University in Rome, and as President of the Iowa Sociological Association, Nothing
Exceptional: Against Agamben, in Journal for Critical Education Policy Studies
Volume 9, Number 1, http://www.jceps.com/wp-content/uploads/PDFs/09-105.pdf)//BW
Missing in Agambens work - and by extension given his influences, in Arendt, Schmitt, Foucault and
Nietzsche and their varying approaches to the autonomy of the political - is any understanding of the
relationship between politics and economics, or of class forces in historical
outcomes, and any link between civil liberties and guarantees to and control over
livelihood. This failure leads to the great weakness of any analysis based on the autonomy of politics - its total
inability to explain why something is happening rather than to show us that it is. The failure, in other
words, to explain the timing of political and social changes, and therefore to explain
them in any way that is useful. Why are some people being reduced to homo sacer now? And why those
particular people? Why is there a state of exception being declared in this country but not that one, and why now
and not later, or why once but not now, or why potentially but not in reality? Why is a discourse of biopolitics, or of
changing methods of social discipline and control emerging in a given century instead of in another? If it is the
result of modernity or the Enlightenment, how do we explain these in turn? I believe that asking such questions in

has presented itself over the past few decades as a rich era of theoretical
innovation, leads us to see that there has instead been an impoverishment of
historical and theoretical imagination and explanatory power . Further, I believe that it can be
shown that the idea of the autonomy of politics is at the heart of this impoverishment ,
stemming from reliance on Nietzsche, Arendt, and worst of all Schmitt as theoretical influences. If
democracy and liberation lack appropriate theoreticians and theories it is our job to
produce these, not to go looking for the possibility of an intellectual detournement
of the categories of misanthropic, Nazi or even in the more benign case of Arendt
liberal elitist approaches to understanding the modern world. Ones boredom with the
what

relative superficiality or lack of sophistication of say, Rousseau, Condorcet, or even Jefferson, and ones desperation
to escape the straight-jacket of an orthodox Marxism or the stifling dialectic of Hegel does not excuse the damage
done when we come to disastrous conclusions through mistaken analysis of the most vital political processes.
Instead, we have a responsibility to provide the best explanation we can for why something is happening, in the
interests not only of better understanding it, always valuable for its own sake, but also to answer that second
question I pose - the one that goes beyond the merely academic or intellectual - what can we do about it? This
question, which moves us from theory to practical action in the world, shows us the further value of the first
question and the importance of answering it well. It is true that a bad explanation could still result by luck or
through our good political experience or common sense individually or collectively in an adequate response in
action. But a good explanation is at worst going to do us no harm in enhancing our own understanding of what we
are faced with and we ourselves are doing in response, but may in fact help us in formulating strategy together so
that we can maximize our effect and even turn the situation to our advantage. I have taken the time and space
here to go through what should be obvious to any political activist and certainly to anyone remotely familiar with
Marxist traditions of politics and theory because I think that a theory like Agambens and for that matter like much
of the recent work of Toni Negri and Michael Hardt, or some influential ideas of even a more widely admired thinker

seem again to me to have failed significantly in explanatory power


despite their often great insight into the events and processes they fail to
adequately explain; they seem to lack completely any strategic sense of how their
theories are supposed to illuminate or guide our actions politically . To provide an answer
like Foucault,

to the first question I pose, and therefore to present a better explanation for the increasing political repression of

our times, I will rely on the classic Marxist categories of enclosure and expropriation, or primitive accumulation. To

the
concept of class struggle and on a historical overview of the state and of
democratization. I think that understanding the accomplishments and the
limitations of democratization up to now, and the basis of democratization in class
struggle by workers, is the surest basis for seeing where to begin in best
understanding and addressing the root causes, the material bases of the political
repression of civil liberties that threatens us and in rolling it back .
address - I wont pretend I can answer it here - but at least to address the second question, I rely on

Agamben misses the fact bare life is the condition of the


proletariat
Colatrella 11 (Steven taught at Bard College and the New School, and has
served as Chair of the Political and Social Sciences Department at John Cabot
University in Rome, and as President of the Iowa Sociological Association, Nothing
Exceptional: Against Agamben, in Journal for Critical Education Policy Studies
Volume 9, Number 1, http://www.jceps.com/wp-content/uploads/PDFs/09-105.pdf)//BW
Agamben, in his understanding of homo sacer seems to miss the most obvious
point imaginable, at least to anyone familiar with the work of either Karl Marx or
Karl Polanyi , namely, that a human being reduced to bare life, to the mere physical
existence without rights or guarantees, far from being a marginal figure, a canary in
a coal mine, is instead the human condition of the majority of the population under
capitalism. Here is where it is clear why I have stressed the autonomy of the political as a way of understanding
Finally,

the world that is counter-productive: it takes work to describe humanity reduced to bare life and then fail to see it

South. Political
deracination is clearly related to economic deracination, or to use the, in my view
clearer Marxian terminology, expropriation and enclosure, or proletarianization. In
what way is Agambens homo sacer any different than the rightless and free
proletarian that has always existed under capitalism ? Hasnt it always been allowable to live
all around one in the form of the proletarian majority of every society, North and

and let die without remorse those unable to make a living, keep a job or income, provide for themselves or family
members, keep up rent or mortgage payments, pay for a meal? Shouldnt we see this as violence, as Zizek in his

the daily, systemic economic violence of market relations and the


propertylessness of the majority in capitalist society? Isnt this exactly the non-state
of emergency, non-exceptional violence, that kills millions annually, that Agamben ,
like Arendt before him, ignores? Further, doesnt his lack of attention to the normal process of
proletarianization, of expropriation and enclosure, lead to his failure to see these on
a grand scale with the maximum possible state violence in the colonial world, in the
neocolonial world, in slavery and the slave trade, in the genocide of the Native
Americans? Yet, failing to see these, isnt it likely that even his understanding of the processes and histories he
book Violence argues,

knows well and does examine in detail, Europe and the US, and the Jewish Holocaust and Nazi regime, are flawed as
well? Despite her limitations, wasnt Arendt closer to the truth with her view that the genocide of Jews and Roma in
Nazi Europe, or even the slaughter of the peasantry under forced collectivization and the genocide in the Ukraine
under Stalin, that is, the results of the process she identifies, rightly or wrongly, as totalitarianism, had their roots in
the colonialist, imperialist and racist experiences? (Although Arendts analysis was likewise crippled by her
insistence on the autonomy of the political, and by her semi-apologetic discussion of imperialist racism). In ignoring

Agamben fails again


to note crucial historical moments of political repression - of both states of
even the process of expropriation and enclosure, or proletarianization, in Europe itself,

exception and homo sacer. The most important of these moments in the
expropriation of the peasantry of Europe was the witch trials of the 16th and 17th
centuries, as Silvia Federici has shown in her book Caliban and the Witch. Federici indeed shows the limitations
of Foucaults own analysis of the growth of control of the body by state and medical authorities, of biopolitics .
Foucault ignores the torturing to death of hundreds of thousands of women across Europe over several centuries,
and the role these horrors played in the construction of gender inequalities under capitalism and in dividing the
medieval and early modern proletariat. These divisions then made it possible to break up the village community
that had been the basis of defending common lands and customary rights and of advancing both against feudal
power. Foucault thus provides a faulty and misleading history of discipline, punishment and of the body. In ignoring

Agamben misses an opportunity to provide an explanation for the


scapegoating of part of the population, that is, to divide and conquer under
conditions where the expropriation from common rights and property, and
commonly used resources and public goods is on the agenda. As Polanyi pointed out
long ago, the state was the central actor in the imposition of the self-regulating
market ; as Marx pointed out, it wrote these chapters in the annals of humankind in
letters of blood and fire . It is to Agambens credit, indeed it is a singular triumph of his work to have
the same history,

begun the process of showing us the implications in constitutional law and practice of political and juridical

His failure is that he does not connect this process to either economic
expropriation, as Peter Linebaugh does in his Magna Carta Manifesto, or to the imposition of neoliberal
expropriation.

economic policies as does Naomi Klein in Shock Doctrine . Legal rights need an economic basis as Linebaugh shows

constitutional rights and of


land and common property also go together. Democracy, notwithstanding all of its
limits under capitalist conditions, puts limits on the neoliberal project of
expropriation and exploitation, of privatization and profit , as Klein shows us. Economic
possession provides the material base for legal standing, rights both customary and
written into formal law and such protections in turn help defend the widespread
popular possession of or guarantees to means of subsistence and production, and
public goods in general ; democracy provides a political tool to either protect people from expropriation, or
to respond to enclosure by limiting exploitation and perhaps creating preconditions for
reversing the initial dispossession.
us, a connection that allows us to see that the reappropriation of legal and

Agamben also misunderstands the history of class struggle


and the birth of modern democratic states
Colatrella 11 (Steven taught at Bard College and the New School, and has
served as Chair of the Political and Social Sciences Department at John Cabot
University in Rome, and as President of the Iowa Sociological Association, Nothing
Exceptional: Against Agamben, in Journal for Critical Education Policy Studies
Volume 9, Number 1, http://www.jceps.com/wp-content/uploads/PDFs/09-105.pdf)//BW
In failing to take into account the expropriation of the slave, the enclosure of the commons, the expropriation of the
peasantry and the burning of the witch, the occupation of the colonizeds lands, the IMF Structural Adjustment

Agamben also failed to


provide his own theoretical framework with the tools needed to explain the survival
or death of the Jew in the Nazi camp, his own paradigmatic example ? If we find, as
Program and the repression needed to impose it against resistance, hasnt

Isabella Clough-Marinaro has , that the camps for Roma in Italy today are classic examples of homo sacer, right

neednt we try to
understand what these new horrors have to do with the rolling back of the welfare
down to publicly exposed showers on concrete enclosures surrounded by barbed wire,

state in Europe?; with the attack on employment and wages ?; with the intensified
exploitation that includes that of the undocumented immigrants and the public discourses demonizing them?; with
the increased law and order regimes, campaigns against crime that criminalize the Roma, the undocumented and
other minorities that have allowed the Italian military to be deployed in the streets to keep an eye on the
population; with the creation of such scapegoats to divide the working class exactly at such a time of attack on
hard-won social gains? Agamben, as Clough-Marinaro demonstrates, is indispensable to help analyze the camps in
the first place, but I would argue that he is of nearly no help at all to help us strategize about what to do about
them, because he doesnt understand what any of it has to do with class relations, relations of expropriation,
exploitation and class struggle against these. And that means he cant understand what the latter has already
accomplished and what it has yet to accomplish. To understand this, we need to understand the welfare state itself

To do that we need to understand democracy, which in turn requires


us to think about the state, as Agamben calls on us to do, but to do so in a way that
goes beyond the drama of the state of exception to include the historical
accomplishments of the class struggle, particularly those other two categories,
democracy and the welfare state. While this is not the place to enter into a full discussion of these
as it has developed.

issues, which I address elsewhere , a brief summary of my argument on democracy is useful to make clear my
differences with Agambens approach. Modern democracy is part of what Polanyi calls the double movement of
expropriation and the establishment of the self-regulating market and the efforts by society to defend itself from

Modern democracy is born from the English and French Revolutions , from
the anti-slavery movement in the US, and from the labor and socialist movements in
Europe . Mass democratic movements that have furthered this process have been
fought either to retard the separation of the people from the land and access to
means of production and subsistence, or to provide new guarantees of meeting
these needs and providing livelihood to those already expropriated and now
exploited. Put differently, the commitment of ordinary people to democracy comes from their need and desire to
this process.

use it to do something; democracy is an instrument of popular classes to defend and extend their interests. If, as I
have argued, citing various authors work to the point, the protection of individual rights, avoidance of becoming
homo sacer, and prevention of the state of exception required material foundations, those material foundations

The modern democratic class struggle, the


establishment of democracy and its extension, remain, along with defending or
reestablishing control of subsistence and means of production directly in the hands
of the people (the commons), the best means of avoiding the fate that Agamben
warns us about. This means that the too-facile dismissal of all legal, democratic or
constitutional protections, hard-won by generations of struggle, that appear in his
analysis that the state of exception is already unexceptional but rather the rule,
disarms the very efforts needed to protect us from the state power .
have, in modern times, required political protection.

The alternative is the only way to solve


Colatrella 11 (Steven taught at Bard College and the New School, and has
served as Chair of the Political and Social Sciences Department at John Cabot
University in Rome, and as President of the Iowa Sociological Association, Nothing
Exceptional: Against Agamben, in Journal for Critical Education Policy Studies
Volume 9, Number 1, http://www.jceps.com/wp-content/uploads/PDFs/09-105.pdf)//BW
The movements for democracy, the class and gender struggles that brought it
about and have continued to try to extend it to more spheres of life are , as Marx
explained to the First International, not extensions of state power, but partial transformations
of the state from a police apparatus and killing machine for the ruling class into a
set of functions whose institutions and cadre now concern themselves with caring for the

needs of societys members, with all the contradictions and flaws that studies of the
welfare state have demonstrated but with all its benefits too: However, the more
enlightened part of the working class fully understands that the future of its class, and,
therefore, of mankind, altogether depends upon the formation of the rising working
generation. They know that, before everything else, the children and juvenile workers must be saved from the
crushing effects of the present system. This can only be effected by converting social reason into social force, and,
under given circumstances, there exists no other method of doing so, than through general laws, enforced by the

In enforcing such laws, the working class do not fortify governmental


power. On the contrary, they transform that power, now used against them, into
their own agency. They effect by a general act what they would vainly attempt by a multitude of isolated
power of the state.

individual efforts .

case

no impact
The jargon of exception is depoliticizing and ignores social
reforms
Huysmans 8 (Jef Professor of Security Studies at the Open University, The Jargon
of ExceptionOn Schmitt, Agamben and the Absence of Political Society, in
International Political Sociology, Volume 2, Issue 2, June 2008,
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1749-5687.2008.00042.x/abstract)
Agambens conception of the exception-being-therule for reconfiguring conceptions of politics in a biopolitical age comes at a serious cost, though. It inserts
both a diagnosis of our time and a conceptual apparatus for rethinking politics that
has no place for the category that has been central to the modern democratic tradition:
the political significance of people as a multiplicity of social relations that condition politics and that are
Deploying the jargon of exception and especially

constituted by the mediations of various objectified forms and processes (for example, scientific knowledge, technologies, property

Even if one would argue that Agambens framing of the current


political conditions are valuable for understanding important changes that have taken place in the
twentieth century and that are continuing in the twenty first, they also are to a considerable extent depoliticizing.
Agambens work tends to guide the analysis to unmediated, factual life. For example, some draw
relations, legal institutions...).

on Agamben to highlight the importance of bodily strategies of resistance. One of the key examples is individual refugees protesting
against their detention by sewing up lips and eyes. They exemplify how individualized naked life resists by deploying their bodily,
biological condition against sovereign biopolitical powers (for example, Edkins and Pin-Fat 2004:1517). I follow Adorno and others,

such a conception of bodily, naked life is not political. It ignores how this life
only exists and takes on political form through various socioeconomic, technological,
scientific, legal, and other mediations. For example, the images of the sewed-up eye- lids and lips of the individualized
however, that

and biologized refugees have no political significance without being mediated by public media, intense mobilizations on refugee and
asylum questions, contestations of human rights in the courts, etc. It is these mediations that are the object and structuring devices

Reading the politics of exception as the central lens onto modern con- ceptions
politics, as both Agamben and Schmitt do, erases from the concept of politics a rich and constitutive
history of sociopolitical struggles, traditions of thought linked to this history, and key sites and
temporalities of politics as well as the central processes through which
individualized bodily resistances gain their sociopolitical significance.
of political struggle.
of

No biopolitics impact --- democracy checks


Dickinson 4 (Edward R. Professor of History at UC Davis, Biopolitics, Fascism,
Democracy: Some Reflections on Our Discourse About Modernity, in Central
European History, Volume 37, Issue 1, March 2004,
http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?
fromPage=online&aid=2758180&fileId=S0008938900002776)
And it is, of course, embedded in a broader discursive complex (institutions, professions, fields of social, medical, and psychological

continuities
between early twentieth-century biopolitical discourse and the practices of the
welfare state in our own time are unmistakable . Both are instances of the disciplinary society and of
expertise) that pursues these same aims in often even more effective and inescapable ways.89 In short, the

biopolitical, regulatory, social-engineering modernity, and they share that genealogy with more authoritarian states, including the

And it is certainly fruitful to view them from


this very broad perspective. But that analysis can easily become superficial
and misleading, because it obfuscates the profoundly different strategic and local
dynamics of power in the two kinds of regimes . Clearly the democratic welfare
National Socialist state, but also fascist Italy, for example.

state is not only formally but also substantively quite different from totalitarianism.
Above all, again, it has nowhere developed the fateful, radicalizing dynamic that
characterized National Socialism (or for that matter Stalinism), the psychotic logic that leads from
economistic population management to mass murder. Again, there is always the potential for such a discursive regime to generate
coercive policies. In those cases in which the regime of rights does not successfully produce health, such a system can and

there are political and policy


potentials and constraints in such a structuring of biopolitics that are very different
from those of National Socialist Germany. Democratic biopolitical regimes
require, enable, and incite a degree of self-direction and participation that is
functionally incompatible with authoritarian or totalitarian structures. And
this pursuit of biopolitical ends through a regime of democratic citizenship does
appear, historically, to have imposed increasingly narrow limits on coercive policies,
and to have generated a logic or imperative of increasing liberalization . Despite
historically does create compulsory programs to enforce it. But again,

limitations imposed by political context and the slow pace of discursive change, I think this is the unmistakable message of the
really very impressive waves of legislative and welfare reforms in the 1920s or the 1970s in Germany.90 Of course it is not yet clear
whether this is an irreversible dynamic of such systems. Nevertheless, such regimes are characterized by sufficient degrees of
autonomy (and of the potential for its expansion) for sufficient numbers of people that I think it becomes useful to conceive of them
as productive of a strategic configuration of power relations that might fruitfully be analyzed as a condition of liberty, just as much

totalitarianism cannot be the


sole orientation point for our understanding of biopolitics , the only end point of the
logic of social engineering. This notion is not at all at odds with the core of
Foucauldian (and Peukertian) theory. Democratic welfare states are regimes of
power/knowledge no less than early twentieth-century totalitarian states;
these systems are not opposites, in the sense that they are two alternative ways of organizing the same thing. But they
are two very different ways of organizing it. The concept power should not
be read as a universal stifling night of oppression , manipulation, and entrapment, in
which all political and social orders are grey, are essentially or effectively the
same. Power is a set of social relations, in which individuals and groups have varying degrees of autonomy and effective
as they are productive of constraint, oppression, or manipulation. At the very least,

subjectivity. And discourse is, as Foucault argued, tactically polyvalent. Discursive elements (like the various elements of
biopolitics) can be combined in different ways to form parts of quite different strategies (like totalitarianism or the democratic
welfare state); they cannot be assigned to one place in a structure, but rather circulate. The varying possible constellations of power
in modern societies create multiple modernities, modern societies with quite radically differing potentials.91

Biopolitics is good --- it supports life, liberty and the pursuit of


happiness
Ojakangas 5 (Mika Professor of Political Thought at the University of Jyvaskyla,
Impossible Dialogue on Bio-power: Agamben and Foucault, in Foucault Studies,
Number 2, p. 26-27, http://dferagi.webs.ull.es/d/social2/docs/Foucault.3.pdf)
In fact, the history of modern Western societies would be quite incomprehensible without taking into account that there exists a
form of power which refrains from killing but which nevertheless is capable of directing peoples lives. The effectiveness of biopower can be seen lying precisely in that it refrains and withdraws before every demand of killing, even though these demands
would derive from the demand of justice. In bio-political societies, according to Foucault, capital punishment could not be
maintained except by invoking less the enormity of the crime itself than the monstrosity of the criminal: One had the right to
kill those who represented a kind of biological danger to others.112 However, given that the right to kill is precisely a
sovereign right, it can be argued that the bio-political societies analyzed by Foucault were not entirely bio-political. Perhaps,

present-day
European societies have abolished capital punishment. In them, there are no longer exceptions. It
there neither has been nor can be a society that is entirely bio-political. Nevertheless, the fact is that

is the very right to kill that has been called into question. However, it is not called into question because of enlightened moral

because of the deployment of bio-political thinking and practice. For


Agambens thesis, according to which the concentration camp is the
fundamental bio-political paradigm of the West , has to be corrected.113 The biopolitical paradigm of the West is not the concentration camp , but, rather, the
sentiments, but rather
all these reasons,

present-day welfare society and, instead of homo sacer, the paradigmatic figure of the bio-political society
can be seen, for example, in the middle-class Swedish social-democrat. Although this figure is an object and a product of the
huge bio-political machinery, it does not mean that he is permitted to kill without committing homicide. Actually, the fact that he
eventually dies, seems to be his greatest crime against the machinery. (In bio-political societies, death is not only something
to be hidden away, but, also, as Foucault stresses, the most shameful thing of all.114) Therefore, he is not exposed to an

the bio-political
machinery does not want to threaten him, but to encourage him, with all its material
spiritual capacities, to live healthily, to live long and to live happily even when, in
biological terms, he should have been dead long ago.115 This is because bio-power is not bloody
power over bare life for its own sake but pure power over all life for the sake of
the living. It is not power but the living, the condition of all life individual as well as collective
that is the measure of the success of bio-power .
unconditional threat of death, but rather to an unconditional retreat of all dying. In fact,

agamben wrong about law


Agambens conception of law are incredibly essentialist and
provides no remedy
Schotel 09 (Bas, assistant professor (Ph.D., LLM) at University of Amsterdam,
DEFENDING OUR LEGAL PRACTICES: A LEGAL CRITIQUE OF GIORGIO AGAMBENS
STATE OF EXCEPTION,
http://amsterdamlawforum.org/article/viewArticle/68/124)//BW
to Agambens provocative questions directed at lawyers. According
to Agamben we are silent about the killing machine , which concerns us because it is inherently tied to
VI. Critique Let us return

law: the state of exception. Our legal culture is in radical decline, because we have not come up with an adequate theory of the
state of exception. We have been incapable of addressing the two forces at work: law and life. We have not been able to create an
open space where we can play with the elements and create new meaning of life and law. These accusations do not hold .

In
earlier reviews it has been correctly pointed out that lawyers are not silent and that
especially in court lawyers have raised their voice, which Agamben totally omits in
his thesis. Reference to those excellent reviews should suffice, if they would not have conceded already too much to
Agambens thesis.10 These misrepresentations (or outright omissions) of what lawyers are doing are not harmless or innocent
omissions. They constitute a dangerous move away from a contextual understanding of law as practice of practical reasoning.
Instead Agamben moves us to a kind of ontological and even metaphysical notion of law. To appreciate my concern one may simply
ask one question: what is left in concrete and practical terms -of the law if we adopt Agambens thesis? What are lawyers doing
when Agamben will have it his way?

In spite of all his good intentions and legitimate concerns,


Agamben covertly advocates a selling out of our legal practice. So rather than
giving Agamben a charitable reading, and tolerate the often alien tenor11 of his
work, I will show its fundamental inadequacy to provide a plausible account of the
current legal practice and law in general. Both his methods to describe law as
the descriptions of it are deeply flawed. VI.1 Law Has Normative Force At the outset of his thesis
Agamben runs into fundamental difficulties. His concern is the impunity of violations of international law by governments that

If we take Agambens diagnosis and his solution


seriously, there is actually no way we can tell whether there are violations of
international law in the first place. The only thing Agamben can claim is that killings,
incarcerations, infliction of hardship, in short violence acts are taking place. But
under his theory there is no legal standard available to qualify these acts as
violations. This is probably the greatest danger of his theory. It cannot identify outright abuse of the law and bad faith, while
nevertheless still claim to be applying law.

this is clearly what was going on with the Bush government.12 By giving too much credit to the discourse of these governments and
taking this discourse as his starting point, there is no concern for him to deal with. The simple fact that violence is used could not
concern him as such. It may only worry him if there is a normative standard according to which this violence is wrong, unjust
illegitimate, or illegal. In other words,

Agamben is in blatant contradiction. The simple fact that he


believes that governments are violating current international and domestic law
means that they have normative force. It means that they are supposed to be obeyed and that as such they
constitute reasons for action. If so, then already this simple but fundamental point makes Agambens enterprise practically obsolete.

It seems that he realises this contradiction, since he hardly ever speaks of


violations, abuses and misuses of the law. VI.2 Lawyers Are Not Silent Agambens failure to
recognise his own need to rely on the normative force of existing law explains why
he cannot or does not want to hear the lawyers . Yet lawyers are far from silent. For sure, they may not
engage in philosophical inquiry into the genealogy and etymology (!) of obscure phenomena of Roman law, they have been raising
their voice in the context of a particular practice, i.e. legal practice. Just to take the example of the treatment of Guantanamo

From
the justices of US Supreme Court and professional human rights defence lawyers,13
law clinic students14, to Pentagon officials, and former military defence lawyers.15
The lawyers are equally talkative when it comes to theorising the state of exception .
detainees: lawyers of all ranks, affiliation and function have been fighting the violations of international and domestic law.

As Kanwar nicely shows, constitutionalist produced a great deal of legal writing on the issue, they may not have reached any

consensus on these issues, but that is not the same as remaining silent16 In short, as long as the legal practice can assert that
violations of law are taking place, the law has normative force. In other words, Agambens philosophical concern seems to vanish
and his first accusation has been proven false. VI.3 The Law Is Being Applied A gamben

may object to my
previous points that all those lawyers that are raising their voice are only referring
to a law that is formally in force but not applied : force-oflaw. Again, he is wrong from an empirical
perspective. The Supreme Court cases cited earlier show that gradually but progressively the Guantanamo practices are
invalidated.17 But let us, for arguments sake, concede that gross violations are taking place with impunity to the effect that the law
is actually not-applied. This empirical claim raises important methodological and normative issues. What is the level of compliance
needed for a law to be qualified as applied? What do we measure: the quantity or the quality of the compliance? Or do we only

What Agamben needs are standards to evaluate whether or not a


law, a set of laws or even the law itself, is bankrupt. But this means that he has to
provide us with an account of the functions and capabilities of law. Obviously, he
fails to do so. This alone should already dismiss his claims . For it shows a categorical refusal to
measure the violations?

account for even the most minimal features of a phenomenon he seeks to criticise, even revolutionise. Let me briefly illustrate how
ones definition of the functions of law matters to determining laws effectiveness.18 If the focus is on guiding behaviour, then
failure to comply with the law will sooner amount to its ineffectiveness. By contrast, if the function of the law is more a matter of
restorative justice then violations do not really affect its effectiveness. What matters is whether sooner or later the norms are ex
post enforced on the violators. Of course, law is more complex and may have a variety of functions. But this goes just to show that
one should distinguish between different branches of law, because often the functions change accordingly. Also, we must consider
the experience of the law with applying particular norms. For example, some human rights are quite old while others very recent.
One cannot expect the new right to be as effective as the older one.19 VI.4 Law Cannot Be Understood through a Paradigm and
Genealogical Inquiry Maybe I have overstated my fears for Agambens work. By the mere fact of using the instrument of the
paradigm and the method of genealogical inquiry he gives up any pretension of offering us a far reaching insight into the law.20 So
he is harmless after all. But just to be sure let me briefly indicate why Agambens methodology can tell us so little about the law

his enterprise is not at all sociological he has no regard for the actual
practice and contexts in which certain legal concepts were used. As a result he
cannot actually say whether a certain legal arrangement was actually seriously
practiced at all, let alone found relevant. For a genealogy this does not pose any problem. This also explains
(qua law). First, since

why Agamben can bring to the stage without any embarrassment extremely obscure legal arrangements such as the iustitium in

Roman law seems to Agamben just as relevant


as US constitutional law. In fact, as Kanwar pointed out, US constitutional does not seem at all relevant to Agamben.
combination with the senatus consultum ultimum. In fact,

Similarly, the disregard for practice explains why he can omit one of the greatest practices of modern legal systems: judicial review.

The same
happens with all the authorities that do not fit Agambens paradigm. Rather than
questioning his paradigm he rejects the authority. 21 However, the grounds for the rejections are unclear
The reason is simple: because social facts do not matter only the aspects are withhold that fit the paradigm.

or rather absent. Often he cannot do better than etymology. In any event, the rejections cannot be based on a more plausible,
complex and contextualised understanding of the particular practice in which the legal concept was used. For practice does not

it is not acceptable for


understanding practices of collective action and discourse such as politics and law.
His contempt of practice, and the necessary singular focus of the paradigm, drive
Agamben into a dangerous ontological, and at the same time metaphysical,
exercise. This paves the way for an essentialist and indeed singular understanding of law. Ultimately everything can be
matter to Agamben. This maybe a well accepted methodology in the art of aesthetics,

traced back to the state of exception. And since the law is defined as the state of exception and social facts are not to be accounted

As he deprived the law of all its complexities,


diversity, openness and at the same time constraints (and thus normativity), no
wonder why Agamben wants to get rid of the law . Agamben has put up a straw man. First he erects up
for, it is impossible to refute this account of the law.

the straw man of an outdated legal formalism, as if lawyers still believed that the application of the norm could be derived
exclusively from the norm. Hardly any legal positivist will hold this view. Of course there is a decision in both law making and law
applying. Big deal! You do not need Schmitt anymore to make this point. And you certainly need not jump from the decision to an
omnipresence of the state of exception.22 What matters is to see that even -or precisely -the decision is must be subjected to legal
constraints. The second straw man is a law confined to a simplistic struggle between law and life. Obviously, when presented with
such an arid and binary view of law, we need metaphysical constructs such as pure law and open space of human praxis. Instead,
if we put aside this straw man, and abandon a foundationalist and essentialist view of law, a myriad of actual legal concepts
surfaces.23 And each of these concepts can create constraints for governmental legal actions. Of course ,

none of these
concepts can rule out governments abusing the law and acting in bad faith. But
they make it difficult for them. And today our current legal practices can actually
hold the individual officials accountable.24 For sure, this takes time. But the law must hesitate and take its

time, for the law needs to make a multitude of connections. In fact, without the necessary hesitations the law may even become
suspect of coinciding with self-evidence and common sense.25

Law is transformative and positive --- Agamben oversimplifies


Brnnstrm 08 (Leila, Assistant Professor (subst), Lund University Faculty of
Law, How I learned to stop worrying and use the legal argument A critique of
Giorgio Agambens conception of law, http://lup.lub.lu.se/luur/download?
func=downloadFile&recordOId=2370100&fileOId=4001240)//BW
In Agambens writings law is represented as a uniplanar surface , even if a sophistication is
present as the surface is twisted to the form of a Mbius strip (cf. Agamben 1998, 15, 37). Despite the twist, law is
still represented as a homogeneous entity with a single border. The twist in the surface represents that, in

A state of affairs he claims


instantiates itself in paradoxes like the im/possibility of legal creation ex nihilo and
the im/possibility of the legal regulation of legally banned situations for example legal
codification of self-defense or the right of resistance against unlawful law. The paradoxical structure of
law is, in turn, claimed to explain how life, violence, and sovereignty are
simultaneously inside and outside the legal order . The paradoxes that Agamben enumerates are
Agambens wording, law is outside itself (Agamben 1998, 15).

however engendered in the first place by his understanding of law as a mystic, monolithic, unilaterally productive,
and ahistorical entity. As

Agambens reasoning suppresses temporality and depopulates

the legal field, paradoxes arise as a result of treating law as an object rather than a practice that is performed.
Behind the fear of law that Agamben shows when he says that an unprecedented biopolitical catastrophe is
awaiting us if we do not break with the current politico-legal rationality, is a representation of law as an object as
a machine standing outside history and affecting the course of events. Foucault has argued that if the state is
abstracted and hypostatized as a cold-blooded monster or the instrument of class repression it appears to be the
driving force behind all sorts of effects, which leads to the overvaluation of the state-problem and causes
inflationary effects such as statophobia. He reminds us that the state is nothing more than a flexible bundle of
juxtaposed practices (Foucault 2006, 112115). Similarly, law is not all too powerful or all too powerless; it is a
protean combination of law-producing and reproducing practices and does not have an existence outside of that.

Agambens way of treating law as a point of departure rather than as a the result of
complicated social processes and as the origin of historical power relations rather
than their effects is somewhat ironic since the crux of his argument seems to be
that law does not have an independent life. His point, after all, is that the hold that law has over life
can be broken and what is ultimately at stake in the state of exception, in legal production and decision-making and
in biopolitical matters, is extrajudicial (cf. Agamben 2005, 11, 8788). 41 Another example of such

overestimation of the legal point of view in Agambens work would be the


overstatement of the differences between incarcerated aliens and incarcerated
citizens. Agambens black and white image of law has its counterpart in his notion of bio-power as the controlling
of the (increasingly blurred) borderline between life and death. Bio-power is here reduced to a question of either/or,
eradicating all differentiation in the administration and management of life .

It is all the more problematic


as the control of the borderline is construed as a legal matter which is particularly
troubling as law is equaled to repression and the state is the sole legal agent
mentioned. The transposition of law and repression obscure the fact that some legal
norms, rather than immediately directing and appraising behavior, distribute
competences or legal powers which allow legal subjects to introduce changes in
legal status through contract or other arrangements . Think for instance of the biopolitical effects
of patenting human genome or the markets for surrogacy motherhood or for human organs. Neither is bio-power
necessarily exercised by the state or even through legal action. As Lemke appropriately points out, it is more and
more the scientific consultants, economic interest groups, and civil societal mediators that define the beginning, the
end and the value of life, in consensus conferences, expert commissions, and ethical counsels (Lemke 2005, 11).
Since

Agamben seems to equate power and repression it comes as no surprise that

he cannot see that bio-power can be exercised in ways radically different from those
of the Nazi-regime. It is not wholly accidental that the biopolitical decisions of market actors scenting
investment opportunities and those of us who quit smoking because we are acting in a biopolitically responsible

Agamben overestimates here, as elsewhere, the role of


law in a story where the (narrow and distorted) legal point of view tends to
substitute reality.
way, go unnoticed in Agambens story.

no solvency play fails


Studious play fails --- ignores inevitable role of institutions
Passavant 7 (Paul A. Associate Professor of Political Science at Hobart & William
Smith Colleges, The Contradictory State of Giorgio Agamben, in Political Theory,
Volume 35, Number 2, April 2007,
http://ptx.sagepub.com/content/35/2/147.abstract)
any social formation is constituted by elements of both contingency and
determination. By emphasizing pure potentiality, Agamben misses this and
either cherishes the excessive quality of pure potentiality to the neglect of the exigent needs of the
present, or neglects how the active political subjects he does defend are embedded within finite commitments that necessarily
Third,

persevere through the foreclosure of other possibilities. Some contemporary political theorists concerned with injustice and the lack
of democracy also emphasize contingency, excess, and potentiality over determination, finitude, and acts.49 These theorists

Since politics-hence political change-would not be


possible under conditions of absolute determination , emphasizing contingency or
excess makes sense. Yet reflection upon the retraction of certain state services from places like the Bronx during the late
correctly seek to disrupt oppressive patterns.

1970s per mits us to see how neither justice nor democracy is served by excessive eco nomic duress or violence. Not only are these
contingencies unjust, but also their incapacitating effects prevent democratic practices of government where the latter necessarily

State actions that mitigate


chaos, economic inequality, and violence, then, potentially contribute to the improved
justice of outcomes and democracy. Political theorists must temper celebrating contingency with a simultaneous
consideration of the complicated relation that determination has to democratic purposes.50 Fourth, the state's
institutions are among the few with the capacity to respond to the exigency of
human needs identified by political theorists. These actions will necessarily be finite and less
than wholly adequate, but responsibility may lie on the side of acknowledging these
limitations and seeking to redress what is lacking in state action rather than
calling for pure potentiality and an end to the state. We may conclude that claims to justice
presupposes some collective capacity to direct and achieve collective purposes.

or democracy based on the wish to rid ourselves of the state once and for all are like George W. Bush claiming to be an

in the
here and now, there are urgent claims that demand finite acts that by definition will
be both divisive and less than what a situation demands .52 In the end, the state
remains. Let us defend this state of due process and equal protection against its ruinous
other.
environmentalist because he has proposed converting all of our cars so that they will run on hydrogen.5" Meanwhile,

Studious play is too abstract --- would lead to totalitarianism in


practice
Kohn 6 (Margaret Professor of Political Science at the University of Toronto, Bare
Life and the Limits of the Law, in Theory & Event, Volume 9, Number 2,
http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/theory_and_event/v009/9.2kohn.html [modified for
ableist language])
Is there an alternative to this nexus of anomie and nomos produced by the state of exception? Agamben invokes genealogy and
politics as two interrelated avenues of struggle. According to Agamben, "To show law in its nonrelation to life and life in its
nonrelation to law means to open a space between them for human action, which once claimed for itself the name of 'politics'." (88)
In a move reminiscent of Foucault, Agamben suggests that breaking the discursive lock on dominant ways of seeing, or more

Agamben clearly hopes that


his theoretical analysis could contribute to the political struggle against
authoritarianism, yet he only offers tantalizingly abstract hints about how
this might work. Beyond the typical academic conceit that theoretical work is a decisive element of political struggle,
precisely not seeing, sovereign power is the only way to disrupt its hegemonic effects.

Agamben seems to embrace a utopianism that provides little guidance for


political action. He imagines, "One day humanity will play with law just as children play with disused objects, not in order
to restore them to their canonical use but to free them from it for good." (64) More troubling is his messianic
suggestion that "this studious play" will usher in a form of justice that
cannot be made juridical. Agamben might do well to consider Hannah
Arendt's warning that the belief in justice unmediated by law was one of
the characteristics of totalitarianism . It might seem unfair to focus too much attention on Agamben's
fairly brief discussion of alternatives to the sovereignty-exception-law nexus, but it is precisely those sections that reveal the flaws in
his analysis. It also brings us back to our original question about how to resist the authoritarian implications of the state of exception

For Agamben, the problem with the "rule


of law" response to the war on terrorism is that it ignores the way that the
law is fundamentally implicated in the project of sovereignty with its corollary logic of
exception. Yet the solution that he endorses reflects a similar blindness
[failure]. Writing in his utopian-mystical mode, he insists, "the only truly political action, however, is that which severs the
nexus between violence and law."(88) Thus Agamben, in spite of all of his theoretical sophistication, ultimately falls
into the trap of hoping that politics can be liberated from law, at least the
law tied to violence and the demarcating project of sovereignty .
without falling into the liberal trap of calling for more law.