THE ROLE OF THE INTELLECTUAL

Even if it soon proves fragile, for now, one of the principle merits of the current mobilization is to have sent the rhetoric and the tactical repertoire of the left movements of the past century to the Grévin Museum…

[Deposed agents of the Imaginary Party
December 6, 2018]

Responsibility falls squarely upon the intelligentsia to engage openly with the non-representation of contemporary events & their implications: Paris, Santiago, Athens, Buenos Aires, Nantes, Thessaloniki, Afrin, Hambacher Forest, Unist’ot’en, etc., etc., etc. The intelligentsia has a responsibility to openly discuss what the mass media will not. To bring to current public discourse a wider critical conscience that has so far been lacking. How else can the intelligentsia be relevant in these most dangerous times? To act otherwise can only signal silent acquiescence, complicit in the suppression of collective consciousness.

Under such conditions the intellectual would do better not to exist. The intellectual who refuses even to acknowledge the tenor of the threat posed to society by the Forces of Order & the Corporate-State Apparatus is neither a bystander nor merely a passive collaborator, but an agent provocateur. For the surrendering of intellectual responsibility amounts to an active subversion of conscience. The universities must be a barricade, & the intelligentsia must join forces with those avantgardes contesting the terrain of ideas & their representation; of social facts & their representation; of power in its representation.

Today, a passive intelligentsia stands on the verge of a final defeat at the hands of an economic ideology that has always despised it, & whose ultimate act of denigration has been to reduce critical conscience (like everything else) to the status of a commodity. Alienated from itself, the intelligentsia will have lost all reason for being – other than for the ever-more-temporary, ever-more-tenuous production of a tradable surplus in social affect. Pseudo-ideas not even on a par with recycled plastic.

The intelligentsia isn’t a “class apart.” The guilty conscience of the intellectual no longer stems from class privilege but the contrary. The self-interest of the intellectual failed as a cultural strategy just as it has failed as a self-preservation strategy. All that remains from the neo-liberalising of intellectual labour is the solidarity of the lowest common denominator – which is that of obsolescence. In this existential struggle it has been found wanting.

Nevertheless, it is by virtue of its historical failure that there remains of the intelligentsia the possibility of a real critique. Stripped of a purely hypothetical social function, the intelligentsia – even at this eleventh hour – may for once play a practical role. It is a role that first requires an act of refusal, of revolt, of sedition against the institutionalisation of non-thought that has accomplished itself under the very guise of the “university” itself. To abolish the regime of antisocial contrition that has taken the place of intellectual commitment.

The occasion has arrived. The universities must become a barricade, & the intelligentsia an avantgarde – or WILL NOT BE.

! university

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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