Klaus Theweleit and the Fantasies of Fascist Males, #8

7/10/09

Today is the last in my series of posts on Klaus Theweleit’s two-volume work, Male Fantasies.  The entry below is one I first wrote in my philosophical journal on the date indicated.  It is the only entry on Theweleit’s second volume.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Klaus Theweleit, Male Fantasies, Volume 2, Male Bodies: Psychoanalyzing the White Terror, translated by Erica Carter and Chris Turner (Minneapolis:  University of Minnesota Press, 1989), p. 189:

Fascism’s most significant achievement was to organize the resurrection and rebirth of dead life in the masses [cf. Santner on the  “animated undead”]. . . . In the contemporary context, dead life can hardly be called a rarity; and its resurrections remains an important politicalprocess, perhaps the most important political process of all.  the task  of the nonfascist, however, is not to organize dead life, but to release it from its bonds, to intensify, accelerate, and transform it into a multiplicity whose best quality is that it cannot be organized as fascism, nor in any way assembled in blocks of human totality-machines, knitted into interlocking networks of order; a multiplicity that will not fit into the slot of power-hungry bodies of party formations, that refuses to function as the liver or the little finger of institutions and rulers, but instead holds the promise of a lived life that must not scream endlessly for rebirth.

A bit reminiscent [forgive the anachronism] of Hart and Negri on the notion of “multitude,” but, more importantly, of Santner.  Yet is the “nonfascist” move he calls for any longer “political” at all?  Certainly not, if Schmitt [is accepted] on the essence of the political being the division of  enemies from friends.

A few pages later (on p. 192), he has some insights that apply to addiction, though he does not so apply apply them (my italics in what follows)

War is a function of the body of these men. . . . In war, the man appears not only naked,  but stripped of skin; he seems to lose his body armor, so that everything enters directly into the interior of his body, or flows from it.  He is out of control and seems permitted to be so.

But at the same time, he is all arms, speeding bullet, steel enclosure.  He wears a coat of steel that seems to take the place of his missing skin.  He is collected, directed toward one strict goal:  in this sense he is controlled in the extreme.

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