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Seminar The New Right II

Venue: International University of Andalusia (UNIA). Monasterio de Santa María de las Cuevas, Av. Américo Vespucio 2. Isla de la Cartuja (Sevilla) | Centro vecinal Pumarejo. Plaza del Pumarejo (Seville)
Date: 7>>10 November 2006
Guest Speakers: Juan Aranzadi, Amador Fernández-Savater, Jacques Rancière, Raúl Sánchez
In collaboration with: Editorial Archipiélago




The New Right: Ideas and Means for the Counter-revolutionIn October 2005 we initiated the first congress on the "new right" by wondering about the victory of George W. Bush in the 2004 elections: how can we understand the success of a candidate who had based some of the most important decisions of his previous term of office on lies and manipulations that had been demonstrated publicly? It was a case of going beyond easy replies about "alienated populations" and of trying to understand more about the power of attraction of the populist imaginary in globalisation.

Let us now begin with two illustrative images.
In the first, Nicolas Sarkozy, in a meeting of his party in Marseilles last September, called on young people to support his project of breaking with the current model of society and its way of running politics. "To reinvent the Republic", he says, "we have to reassess the culture of work and effort under the sign of "merit". In order to do so, naturally, it is a case of combating the "sole way of thinking imposed by the egalitarian spirit of 1968, guilty of castrating initiative, promoting a subsided society, and penalising success". Sarkozy stands as a candidate with a good chance of reaching the French presidency in the elections next spring.

In the second, the spokesman of the Spanish government replies in the House of Commons to questions from the Popular Party (the Spanish right-wing party) on the investigations into the events of 11-M. The questions have an underlying subtext that was drawn up and extensively disseminated by the media of the "new right" for months: "11 March was a coup d'état to defeat the Popular Party, the political price of which is apparent today in the negotiation between the PSOE (the Spanish socialist party) and ETA". To coincide with the appearance of the government spokesman, the Prisa Group started a vigorous attack on the "conspiranoid" thesis that it had ignored up to now.

History seems to be repeating itself: the "new right" is not a bad dream that can disappear by a clever combination of silence, moral indignation, and "common sense". The "new right" has broken with the discourse of the obvious and has no intention of "listening to reason": it is at war. Beyond judgement and moral condemnation, it is a case of understanding the reasons for this neo-conservative expansion. What seduction mechanisms does it bring into play? What discontent does it manipulate? How does it relate to the fragmented experience of social and labour matters that dominates the contemporary world?

In the congress of last October we identified some characteristics of the "new right": the aggressive break with instituted agreements (the revisionist cause), its popular and populist character, the extremely intelligent and strategic use of the new media, the contradictory but efficient mixture of neo-liberalism and the call for traditional values, etc.

In this second part we propose an analysis of the intellectual reaction that accompanies the emergence of the "new right" entrenched in its media war machinery. A heterogeneous and discordant current, but more or less grouped around some common ideas of force (and a past from the extreme left that is perhaps more than anecdotal) such as the meaning of 11 September, the complex of Western guilt, the fifth Islamist column that has arrived with immigration, the very precise identification with the Shoah and Israel, May 1968 as the source of all evil, the equivalence between subversion and terror, the inevitable decadence of a democracy without significance, and the need to "restore" a hierarchical and well ordered social body...

Reports, images, and discourses that comply with an absolutely essential task for the "new right": changing the perception of the fragility and uncertainty of globalisation into social panic and security paranoia, translating political, social, and economic conflicts into cultural, ethnic, and religious conflicts between immutable essences ("the conflict of civilisations"); producing and indicating enemies and threats against which only exceptional measures will suffice; and neutralising what is political when we question collectively the naturalness of total war and we open public spaces in order to weave common links.



Tuesday, 7 November 2006
· 19:00 h.
Lecture by Amador Fernández-Savater: 11-M, dust and the storm: political action on a knife-edge.

It is curious that globalisation brings with it a "feudalisation" of social relations: racial hate, religious clashes, ethnical conflicts, social competition, etc. Governing under globalisation includes handling fear, insecurity, and uncertainty. The "new right" does this without ideological restrictions, assuming the inevitable war and the corresponding exceptional measures, manipulating the everyday feeling of frustration. What could "resistance from below" mean then? Could this be thought as a result of the tragic and extraordinary events of 11-M?

Wednesday, 8 November 2006
· 19:00 h.
Lecture by Juan Aranzadi: Israel, the Law revealed and the re-legitimation of the liberal state.

What part is played by Israel, Judaism, and Zionism in the evolution of many intellectuals from the United States, France, and Spain from the extreme left to the "new right"?

Thursday, 9 November 2006
· 20:00 h.
Lecture by Raúl Sánchez: Neocons and permanent global war. Narrations, pragmatics, and junctures.

The role of the "war of principles" in the political and cultural pragmatics of the neo-conservative "movement" in the United States and in Europe. Their relationship with the juncture of what has been called "empire" as it appears in the process and the conflict of global sovereignty. Neo-con decisionism and the decline of the hegemony of the United States.

Friday, 10 November 2006
· 19:00 h.
Lecture by Jacques Rancière: The new hatred of democracy.

A huge intellectual, media, and (anti)political operation redefines democracy as "the kingdom of unlimited desires of consumer individualism" and the source of all the problems of our age (the decadence of schooling, social anomy, the war of everybody against everybody, antisocial behaviour, etc.). Faced with consuming subjectivity, which is unsupportive, erratic, and capricious, anti-democratic discourse opposes a "social limiting principle" personified in the institutions representing the "common good": Republic, Constitution, and Parliament. Jacques Rancière analyses in The hatred of democracy (ed. Amorrortu) the last incarnation of a neo-conservative discourse, drawn up and sustained by old 1968 players, the most profound contribution of which consists of the neutralisation of the people and of politics.


> 7-8-10 November 2006: International University of Andalusia. Calle Américo Vespucio 2. Isla de la Cartuja, Seville.
> 9 November 2006: Centro vecinal Pumarejo. Plaza del Pumarejo, Seville.

* All lectures will be open to the public.




Amador Fernández-Savater
He published Filosofía y acción (Santander, 1999) in 1999. He co-manages the magazine Archipiélago and the publishing company Acuarela, which explore the possible currents of a critically incorrect discourse. He collaborates regularly to the cultural supplement of the daily newspaper El País, the newspaper Diagonal and the magazine El Viejo Topo. He participates in social movements in Madrid.

Jacques Rancière
He took part at the age of only 25 in the École Normale seminar "Lire Le Capital" led by Louis Althusser, which became the well known book of the same title. Later, the expansive wave of May 1968 demolished the technical ambitions of structuralism and Rancière wrote his own farewell to the master in Leçon d'Althusser. Again out in the open, without chairs or platforms to speak from, thought began a journey that passed some of the essential crossroads of our contemporary period: When has politics ever existed? What makes art visible? The "travel notebooks" in which Rancière expounds his field notes are his books: The disagreement. Politics and philosophy (ed. Nueva Visión, Buenos Aires, 1996); The division of what is sensitive. Aesthetics and politics (Consorcio Salamanca, Salamanca, 2002); The ignorant master (ed. Laertes, Barcelona, 2003); The cinematographic fable: reflections on fiction in the cinema (ed. Paidós, Barcelona, 2005); The unconscious aesthete (ed. Del Estante, Buenos Aires, 2005); On aesthetic politics (ed. Llibres de recerca, Barcelona, 2005); and The ethical change of direction of aesthetics and politics (ed. Palinodia, Santiago, Chile, 2006). He is currently an emeritus professor of Philosophy at the University of Paris-VIII (St. Denis).

Raúl Sánchez
He is a translator and lives in Madrid. Trained in philosophy, during the 1980s he was actively committed to several causes such as the refusal to do military service, the occupying of social centres, or the global movement. In 1991 in Paris he met Toni Negri, Maurizio Lazzarato, Giuseppe Cocco, and Michael Hardt, and subsequently translated numerous works of Toni Negri into Spanish. He participates in GMS/Universidad Nómada, a training and research project, and is a member of the editorial committee of the magazines Multitudes (with its headquarters in Paris) and Counter-power.

Juan Aranzadi
He is graduated in Philosophy from the Basque Country University with a thesis on "The mimesis of Plato" and received his doctorate in Anthropology from the Spanish Open University with a thesis on "Semiologic, music, and piety in the anthroposophy of Lévi-Strauss". He has lectured on the History of Religions at the Philosophy Department of San Sebastián and currently occupies the chair of Relationship Anthropology at the Spanish Open University. His latest book is Goodbye ETA (and other relevant matters) (ed. Hiria Liburuak, San Sebastián, 2005). Prior to this he published his major work in two volumes, The Shield of Arquilocus: on messiahs, martyrs, and terrorists (ed. Antonio Machado Libros, Madrid, 2001), a very controversial book that analyses the religious substrate of political and social phenomena such as democracy, liberalism, racism, and nationalism with relation to three particular cases: Basque nationalism, North American nationalism, and Zionism.