يقدم الصحافي الاقتصادي محمد زبيب في هذه الحوار مداخلة عن المديونية العامة والخاصة كآلية من آليات إعادة توزيع الدخل والثورة في لبنان خلال العقود الماضية.
النقاش جزء من سلسلة مناقشات «بيكار» عن النيوليبرالية، الطائفية، والشعوبية. في ضوء الأحداث التاريخية الجارية حاليًا في لبنان، تعقد «بيكار» سلسلة من المحادثات تهدف إلى تحليل المؤثرات الاجتماعية والسياسية في الوقت الحاضر. الهدف هو فهم البنية السياسية والطبقية اللبنانية من أجل التغلب عليها، ولأن ما يجري هنا يمكن فهمه كجزء من تمرد شعبوي عالمي ضد السياسات الاقتصادية النيوليبرالية.
الدعوة عامة المداخلة ٤٥ دقيقة تليها ساعة من النقاش
Please scroll down for English. (The discussion will be held in Arabic with English translation)
مناقشات بيكار النيوليبرالية، الطائفية، والشعوبية
على ضوء الأحداث التاريخية الجارية حاليًا في لبنان، تعقد بيكار سلسلة من المحادثات تهدف إلى تحليل المؤثرات الاجتماعية والسياسية في الوقت الحاضر. الهدف هو فهم البنية السياسية والطبقية اللبنانية من أجل التغلب عليها. ما يجري في لبنان يمكن فهمه كجزء من تمرد شعبوي عالمي ضد التقشف النيوليبرالي. يمكن أن يتم الاستيلاء على هذه الانتفاضة بسهولة من قبل استبداد رجعي يدمج القومية الوطنية بسياسة الهويات (ترامب، بريكست، لوبان، البديل من أجل ألمانيا، بولسونارو، دورتي، إلخ). لكن الشعوبية يمكنها أيضًا أن تولّد سياسة تفضح سطحية الاختلافات عند قياسها على خلفية الصراع الطبقي. كيف نفهم هذه الصيرورة في لبنان حيث منطق الهويات قد أخفى المسألة الطبقية؟ كيف نُدرك التشكل البروليتاري غير التقليدي في مواجهة النيوليبرالية؟ كيف تتشكل أجندة شيوعية في هذه اللحظة بالذات؟
حول الحدث الثوري دون ذات ثورية (حوار مع علي شلق، أستاذ مشارك في الاقتصاد التطبيقي (الجامعة الأمريكية في بيروت
الجمعة، ٨ تشرين الثاني، الساعة ٤-٦ بعد الظهر مزيان
في مقالته الأخيرة “ثورة في البراري النيوليبرالية” (بيروت اليوم، ٢٦ أكتوبر٢٠٠٩) http://beirut-today.com/2019/10/26/revolution-neoliberal-wilderness يطرح علي شلق أن عقوداً من التحولات النيوليبرالية في لبنان أنتجت تدمير “المصفوفة المجتمعية” وخلق ” مستهلكين مذرّرين” . يقترح المؤلف أن مجال الاستهلاك قد كلّف هؤلاء المواطنين المذرّرين بإعادة إنتاج رأس المال الوهمي وحرمهم من مجال الإنتاج الذي اتسمت به الرأسمالية الصناعية. وهذا بدوره أدى إلى تدمير “البروليتاريا” كذات سياسية، وبالتالي أيضًا تدميرها كذات ثورية. وهكذا، فإن الحدث الثوري في لبنان، في خضم ” البراري النيوليبرالية” محروم من الذات الثورية.
تدعو بيكار علي شلق لمناقشة هذه النقاط الأساسية في مقالته: ما إذا كانت العودة إلى الإنتاج الوطني واستعادة القوى المنتجة هي خيار في اقتصاد نيوليبرالي منفصل ومعولَم؛ ما إذا كان ينبغي البحث عن ذوات الثورة في المفهوم التقليدي للبروليتاريا كقوة منتجة، وأخيراً، كيف يمكننا صياغة تحليل جماعي لأزمة الرأسمالية في لبنان على أنها متشابكة مع العمليات الأوسع لأزمات الرأسمالية المتأخرة.
حصل الدكتور شلق على بكالوريوس في الزراعة من الجامعة الأمريكية في بيروت عام ٢٠٠٠، وحصل على درجة الماجستير في التنمية الزراعية الاستوائية من جامعة ريدينج، المملكة المتحدة، في عام ٢٠٠١. تابع دراسته وحصل على درجة الدكتوراه في الاقتصاد التطبيقي في إمبيريال كوليدج لندن، واي كامبوس، المملكة المتحدة، في عام ٢٠٠٨. عمل الدكتور شلق في الاستشارات في المملكة المتحدة بين عامي ٢٠٠٦ و ٢٠٠٩، حيث شارك على نطاق واسع في الاقتصاد وأبحاث العملاء التي أجريت لمجموعة متنوعة من شركات المياه ومياه الصرف الصحي و مزودي المرافق والبنية التحتية في المملكة المتحدة وأوروبا. انضم الدكتور شلق إلى كلية العلوم الزراعية والغذائية في الجامعة الأميركية في بيروت كعضو في هيئة التعليم في عام ٢٠٠٩، وهو حاليًا أستاذ مشارك في الاقتصاد التطبيقي. تتركّز اهتماماته البحثية الرئيسية في مجالات الاقتصاد الزراعي والغذائي، وأبحاث المستهلكين والعملاء، واقتصاديات النقل، والسياسة الصحية، وتحليل اختيار التطبيق. لا يزال يشارك في استشارات اقتصادية مستقلة لعملاء محليين ودوليين من القطاعات الخاصة والعامة والتطوعية. لقد أسفرت الأبحاث والاستشارات التي أجراها الدكتور شلق عن العديد من المنشورات في المجلات التخصصية.
BICAR Debates Neoliberalism, Sectarianism, and Populism
In light of the historical events currently unfolding in Lebanon, BICAR is convening a series of talks that aim to analyze the social and political forces at work in the present. The goal is to assess the resilience of Lebanese political and class formation with an eye to their overcoming. What is happening in Lebanon can be understood as part of a worldwide populist revolt against neoliberal austerity. This revolt can all too easily be appropriated by a reactionary authoritarianism fusing nationalism with identity politics (Trump, Brexit, Le Pen, AfD, Bolsonaro, Duerte, etc.). But populism can also generate a politics that exposes the superficiality of differences when measured against the background of class antagonism. How might this unfold in a Lebanese context where the logic of identity has largely blotted out the issue of class? Can we think proletarianization against neo-liberalism? How might we formulate a communist agenda in this particular moment?
On the Revolutionary Event without Revolutionary Subjects Conversation with Ali Challak, Associate Professor of Applied Economics (AUB)
Friday, November 8, 4-6pm Mezyan
In his recent article “Revolution in Neoliberal Wilderness” (Beirut Today, October 26, 2019) (http://beirut-today.com/2019/10/26/revolution-neoliberal-wilderness) Ali Challak claims that decades of neoliberal transformations in Lebanon have resulted in the destruction of “the societal matrix” and created “atomized consumers”. The sphere of consumption, the author claims, has assigned these atomized citizens to the reproduction of fictitious capital and has deprived them of the sphere of production that had characterized industrial capitalism. This in turn, has brought about the destruction of the “proletariat” as a political subject, and hence, also a revolutionary subject. Thus, the revolutionary event in Lebanon, in the midst of “neoliberal wilderness” is deprived of the revolutionary subject.
BICAR has invited Ali Challak to debate these essential points in his article: whether a return to national production and restoration of productive forces is an option in a disembedded and globalized neoliberal economy; whether the subjects of the revolution should be sought in the traditional conception of the proletariat as productive forces and finally, how we can collectively formulate an analysis of the crisis of capitalism in Lebanon as entangled with broader processes of the crises of late capitalism.
Dr. Chalak has earned his B.Sc. degree in Agriculture from the American University of Beirut (AUB) in 2000, and completed his M.Sc. in Tropical Agricultural Development at the University of Reading, UK, in 2001. He then went on to complete a Ph.D. in Applied Economics at Imperial College London, Wye Campus, UK, in 2008. Dr. Chalak worked in consulting in the UK between 2006 and 2009, where he was involved extensively in economics and customer research conducted for a variety of water and wastewater companies and other utility and infrastructure providers in the UK and Europe. Dr. Chalak joined the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences at AUB as faculty member in 2009, and is currently Associate Professor of Applied Economics. His main research interests lie in the areas of agricultural and food economics, consumer and customer research, transportation economics, health policy and applied choice analysis. He remains actively engaged in independent economics consulting for both local and international clients from the private, public and voluntary sectors. Dr. Chalak’s research and consulting have yielded several publications in peer-reviewed journals.
Goethe- Institut Lebanon is hosting British Theorist and Filmmaker Jason Barker, who will read from his new book “Marx Returns” (2018), followed by a conversation with Philosopher Ray Brassier (BICAR/AUB, LB/UK/FR).
This event is part of a joint event series on critical thought by Goethe-Institut Libanon together with Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung Beirut Office and Beirut Institute for Critical Analysis and Research (BICAR).
“There is nothing, nothing in heaven, or in nature or in mind or anywhere else which does not equally contain both immediacy and mediation, so that these two determinations reveal themselves to be unseparated and inseparable and the opposition between them to be a nullity.” G.W.F. Hegel, Science of Logic, Tr. A.V. Miller (Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Humanities Press, 1969) §92, p.68
Marx in his analysis of the commodity form was certainly able to prove this. Increasingly a question emerges: to what extent are we ourselves embedded in this process of commodification? It is possible to link this question to a resurgence of interest in the concept of alienation. However the term is so complex and slippery that needs to be properly defined. In this presentation I would like to claim a Marxist understanding of alienation which can be useful to explore social dissonance: if cognitive dissonance is the uncomfortable tension which results from holding two conflicting thoughts in the mind at the same time, then social dissonance is the discrepancy and tension that exist between the narcissist individualism that capitalism promotes and our social capacity. In The German Ideology Marx claims that the development of division of labor is what produces alienation. Today we have a society in which the division of labor is rapidly expanding. On the other hand, working conditions are increasingly unstable and precarious making more people invest in their own education and their own development in different fields. Working conditions often require networking and sociability, making our consciousness more and more determined by technology. However through this technology our sociability can also expand. The question then is; what kind of sociability is this? If commodification entails the reification of self-consciousness, what would be required to achieve a form self-consciousness that is not commodified and reified by capitalist relations? Inevitably this would require abolishing the conditions that reproduce commodification. But before that we need to understand what these conditions are. Therefore I would like to explore how the concept of alienation can help us distinguish the different levels of mediation that we are evolved in. My proposal is that alienation can help us to concretely engage with capitalist abstractions by exposing the social dissonance that exist between the social idea and social pathology.
Mattin is an artist from Bilbao (currently living in Berlin) working mostly with noise and improvisation. His work seeks to address the social and economic structures of experimental sonic artistic production through live performance, recordings and writing. He is currently doing a PhD at the University of the Basque Country under the supervision of Ray Brassier and Josu Rekalde. He has edited with Anthony Iles the book Noise & Capitalism and in 2012 CAC Brétigny and Tuamaturgia published Uconsitituted Praxis, a book collecting Mattin ́s writing plus interviews and reviews from performances that he has been part of. Both books are available online. Mattin will be taking part in Documenta next year in Athens and Kassel.
December 2, 2016, 6 pm, T-Marbouta Library, Hamra Street
A Public Talk Hosted by BICAR (Beirut Institute for Critical Analysis and Research) August 25, 2016, 6 pm, T-Marbouta Library, Hamra Street.
What forces produced by capitalism are driving surveillance over the last few decades? Given current trends, will we enter a post-capitalist world without work or money – or a new regime of personalized fascism? Taking as its foundation world-systems theory and communization theory, we’ll trace the history of surveillance from its origins in changes in economic policy that occurred in response to capitalist crisis in the 1970s to its current incarnation as a globalized mode of control of social change for a world that faces a ‘permanent state of exception’ and an ever-growing surplus population. There are also surprisingly profound philosophical and metaphysical assumptions behind the rise of machine-learning that will be delved into, including the role of Carnap in artificial intelligence and Heidegger’s influence on Google via Winograd. Lastly, we’ll outline strategies and tactics that have developed for resistance in an era of surveillance, including the use of cryptography in encrypted messaging, privacy-enhancing technologies such as Tor, and tools for political self-organization. This work will broadly critique the analysis of information capitalism such as Negri, Dean, and Fuchs as well as that of de-politicized ‘new media’ theory.
Dr. Harry Halpin (MIT/INRIA) works on issues of security and privacy, including the development of the Web Cryptography API at the W3C and the NEXTLEAP Project on decentralized systems. Previously, he received a Ph.D. in Informatics from University of Edinburgh, and completed his postdoctoral studies under Bernard Stiegler. This is joint work with Elijah Sparrow of riseup.net.
The Beirut Institute for Critical Analysis and Research (BICAR) would like to invite you to a book talk and signing at Mezyan Hamra, Friday 1st of April at 5 pm
Is pleasure a rotten idea, mired in negativity and lack, which should be abandoned in favor of a new concept of desire? Or is desire itself fundamentally a matter of lack, absence, and loss? This is one of the crucial issues dividing the work of Gilles Deleuze and Jacques Lacan, two of the most formidable figures of postwar French thought. Though the encounter with psychoanalysis deeply marked Deleuze’s work, we are yet to have a critical account of the very different postures he adopted toward psychoanalysis, and especially Lacanian theory, throughout his career. In The Trouble with Pleasure, Aaron Schuster tackles this tangled relationship head on. The result is neither a Lacanian reading of Deleuze nor a Deleuzian reading of Lacan but rather a systematic and comparative analysis that identifies concerns common to both thinkers and their ultimately incompatible ways of addressing them. Schuster focuses on drive and desire—the strange, convoluted relationship of human beings to the forces that move them from within—“the trouble with pleasure.”
Along the way, Schuster offers his own engaging and surprising conceptual analyses and inventive examples. In the “Critique of Pure Complaint” he provides a philosophy of complaining, ranging from Freud’s theory of neurosis to Spinoza’s intellectual complaint of God and the Deleuzian great complaint. Schuster goes on to elaborate, among other things, a theory of love as “mutually compatible symptoms”; an original philosophical history of pleasure, including a hypothetical Heideggerian treatise and a Platonic theory of true pleasure; and an exploration of the 1920s “literature of the death drive,” including Thomas Mann, Italo Svevo, and Blaise Cendrars.
The way in which mainstream human rights discourse speaks of such evils as the Holocaust, slavery, or apartheid puts them solidly in the past. Its elaborate techniques of “transitional” justice encourage future generations to move forward by creating a false assumption of closure, enabling those who are guilty to elude responsibility. This approach to history, common to late-twentieth-century humanitarianism, doesn’t presuppose that evil ends when justice begins. Rather, it assumes that a time before justice is the moment to put evil in the past.
In this talk, Robert Meister merges examples from literature, history, anthropology, political philosophy and theology to confront the problem of closure and the resolution of historical injustice. He challenges the empty moral logic of “never again” or the theoretical reduction of evil to a cycle of violence and counterviolence, broken only once evil is remembered for what it was. Meister criticizes such methods for their deferral of justice and susceptibility to exploitation.
Robert Meister is professor of social and political thought in the Department of the History of Consciousness at the University of California, Santa Cruz. An active participant in California higher education politics, he is director of the Bruce Initiative on Rethinking Capitalism at UCSC and the author of After Evil: A Politics of Human Rights and Political Identity: Thinking Through Marx
Talk by Maya Andrea Gonzalez and Book Presentation by Samo Tomšič Organized by BICAR, Hosted by 98weeks Thursday November 26, 7pm, 98weeks Project Space (address below)
Maya Andrea Gonzalez (UC Santa Cruz) will discuss with Marwa Arsanios (98weeks) and Anne van Leeuwen (James Madison University), the relationship between sex, love and money within the libidinal economy. They will approach this topic from three analytical perspectives: (Marx) money as a title to social wealth; (Lacan) money as signifier, surplus and remainder; (Foucault) money as an apparatus of governance. Looking at the circuits of money and commodities within the libidinal and informal economy today, money, sex and the work of intimacy will be illuminated as a site of subjectivation and criminalization under conditions of austerity. Furthermore, the rise of the “anti-trafficking” movement–an apparatus emerging to manage migrant surplus-populations–is currently deploying radical-feminist saviorist discourses in order to expand the detention-industrial-complex through the redemption of “young girls.” This presentation hopes to critically examine the political stakes underlying “the war against sex-slavery” by first outlining the class-relation between sex and money. Through the methodologies and structural analytics of Marxism and psycho-analysis, it also hopes to open up a discussion of revolutionary feminist Foucaultian strategies to confront the anti-trafficking apparatus as it currently unfolds.
The talk is followed by the presentation and discussion of The Capitalist Unconscious: Marx and Lacan, a book by Samo Tomšič. Samo Tomšič will be in a roundtable discussion with Nadia Bou Ali (BICAR), Anne van Leeuwen (James Madison University), and Sami Khatib (BICAR).
The Capitalist Unconscious: Marx and Lacan is amajor systematic study of the connection between Marx and Lacan’s work Despite a resurgence of interest in Lacanian psychoanalysis, particularly in terms of the light it casts on capitalist ideology—as witnessed by the work of Slavoj Žižek—there remain remarkably few systematic accounts of the role of Marx in Lacan’s work. A major, comprehensive study of the connection between their work, “The Capitalist Unconscious” resituates Marx in the broader context of Lacan’s teaching and insists on the capacity of psychoanalysis to reaffirm dialectical and materialist thought. Lacan’s unorthodox reading of Marx refigured such crucial concepts as alienation, jouissance and the Freudian ‘labour theory of the unconscious’. Tracing these developments, Tomšič maintains that psychoanalysis, structuralism and the critique of political economy participate in the same movement of thought; his book shows how to follow this movement through to some of its most important conclusions.
Biographies Maya Andrea Gonzalez is a Marxist feminist from Oakland California. She is currently a PhD candidate in The History of Consciousness department at University of California at Santa Cruz working on a dissertation thesis on Lotta Femminista, the group who founded the Wages for Housework movement in Italy in the 1970s. Her work is an intellectual history of the movement focusing on a theory of reproductive labor from primitive accumulation to the present. She is also a member of the journal Endnotes. Currently she is working on themes of violence, race and the capitalist state form with respect to slavery, prostitution and the sex-trade.
Samo Tomšič obtained his PhD in philosophy at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. In the past he has worked at the Institute of Philosophy in Ljubljana and at the Jan van Eyck Academy in Maastricht, and is currently research assistant in the interdisciplinary cluster Image Knowledge Gestaltung at the Humboldt University in Berlin. His research areas comprise continental philosophy, structuralism, psychoanalysis, critical theory and epistemology. He is also co-editor (with Andreja Zevnik) of Jacques Lacan Between Psychoanalysis and Politics (Routledge, 2016).
Anne van Leeuwen is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy and Religion at James Madison University (USA). She has a PhD in Philosophy from the New School for Social Research and wrote a dissertation on Luce Irigaray. She is co-editing a volume on Simone de Beauvoir and Luce Irigaray that is forthcoming with Oxford University Press. Her current research is in structuralist and poststructuralist theory.
BICAR.The mission of the Beirut Institute for Critical Analysis and Research (BICAR) is to develop and encourage research in critical thought and a practice of critical pedagogy. Through workshops, seminars, public discussions, and publications, BICAR will provide a platform for researchers, teachers, academics, artists, writers, students, and interested members of the public to engage critically with social, cultural, and political developments. BICAR is committed to the relationships between intellectual inquiry, social reality, political praxis, and concrete change. In light of its locale in Beirut and Lebanon, BICAR aims to create an environment for collective reflection, analysis, and response to the contradictions of labor, capital, production, and subjectivization in conditions of globalisation.